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Tour de France: Fans give Chris Froome a frosty reception

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A spectator has a message for Chris Froome at the team presentation

A spectator has a message for Chris Froome at the team presentation
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) rides to the stage during the team presentation for the 2018 Tour de France

Chris Froome (Team Sky) rides to the stage during the team presentation for the 2018 Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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A spectator shows her dissatisfaction with Chris Froome at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation

A spectator shows her dissatisfaction with Chris Froome at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Team Sky on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation

Team Sky on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Chris Froone and teammates get ready to go on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation

Chris Froone and teammates get ready to go on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Team Sky's Chris Froome and Egan Bernal on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation

Team Sky's Chris Froome and Egan Bernal on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Team Sky's Chris Froome on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation

Team Sky's Chris Froome on stage at the 2018 Tour de France team presentation
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the closing of the anti-doping case against Chris Froome, the UCI said it "hopes that the cycling world can now turn its focus to, and enjoy, the upcoming races on the cycling calendar", but the crowds at the Tour de France showed on Thursday that they are by no means ready to accept the race's defending champion back into their good graces.

At the Tour de France teams presentation at the Place Napoleon in La Roche-sur-Yon, the fans gave warm welcomes to world champion Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe squad, a racous cheer for AG2R La Mondiale's French GC hopeful Romain Bardet, but when Team Sky made their way through the chute there was no such enthusiasm.

One spectator held up a sign that read "cheater, go home" in English, a clear indication that at least some of the fans do not accept WADA's assertions that Froome did not violate anti-doping rules, and that his excess levels of the asthma drug salbutamol in last year's Vuelta a España could have been the result of his use of the drug at allowed doses.

As the announcer introduced Team Sky and their roster, ending with the defending champion, the crowd erupted with boos, whistles and jeers that became louder as Froome was asked to comment on the potential for him make history and win five straight Tours and four Grand Tours in a row.

"Obviously we're going to give it everything we've got this year," was Froome's brief comment before he and his team made their way off the stage.

While unpleasant for the race and Team Sky, it is not - by far - the first time that riders have been booed at the Tour. Shouts of 'dopage' have followed the riders since the Festina scandal in 1998. Lance Armstrong was jeered throughout his Tour dominance and again when he returned to the Tour in 2010. Alberto Contador was booed in 2011 when attending the teams presentation as defending champion.