A pre-Tour de France presentation ceremony this evening gave Chris Froome and Team Sky an inkling of what they may be up against once the race begins on Saturday.
After the competition's organisers had sought to formally ban Sky's Chris Froome last weekend due the cyclist's alleged misuse of an asthma drug Salbutamol during September’s Vuelta a Espana, it has since been confirmed that four-time Tour de France winner will participate in the 2018 race. Furthermore, the sport's governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale, has since determined that this investigation against Froome has been dropped.
However, it would not appear that this decision has satisfied the sport's fan-base. One of the final teams to be presented at the ceremony this evening, there were audible boos and jeers coming from the gathered crowd.
— stratégie velo (@strategievelo) July 5, 2018
Romain Bardet, a popular French cyclist racing for Team AG2R La Mondiale, had requested fans to treat the four-time tour winner and his team with respect throughout the race.
As quoted in the Evening Standard, Bardet wanted the integrity of the race to be upheld:
The decision has been made by the authorities and it is all about respecting that decision. Respect by the riders, by the teams and also the public. The Tour is part of French heritage, it's a celebration, a big party and it's important that we speak about sport. That's what it's all about, it's the Tour de France.
It's also important to respect all the riders, including Chris Froome, he is a former Tour winner and a serious contender for the next title. I hope this race will be played out on a fair-play basis, everything is neutral and we speak more about sport than security.
That's my hope. I trust the French people, they are clever people, and I hope they are there to support all the riders and provide a fair atmosphere.
Alas, such a request appears to have fallen on deaf ears.