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Cycling can conjure all sorts of scenes and this morning something unfolded in Lorient that makes us realise that an act of kindness can disarm the agitators…


Photo: R. Rast

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An odd mood lingers at the Tour in 2018. It began with booing at the team presentation and has extended through the opening stages of the race. There is considerable negativity amongst so-called ‘sport fans’ and much it is directed at the team that boasts the defending champion. Curiously, it doesn’t seem to matter what age the fans are, they are displaying sentiment that goes against the spirit of competition.

Consider the sign held aloft by a family that had gathered at the sign-on in Lorient before the start of stage five (above).

An older man carried a piece of paper spelling out his thoughts: “Sky Go Home.”

He stood beside young boys, one wearing – of all things – a Team Sky replica jersey. It was attracting a fair bit of attention and raised the ire of one of the riders. After leaving the bus and before going to sign on, Luke Rowe rolled over to the man and duly pulled the sign from his finger tips and threw it on the ground in front of him.

The man remained in position and watched on as riders gave interviews and warmed up near the team bus. As this scene unfolded, the team’s principal, Sir Dave Brailsford watched on and it eventually prompted him into action.

Sir Dave exited the team bus, armed with a couple of Team Sky drink bottles. He approached the group who had been holding the sign and handed over the bidons. Dumbfounded by an act of generosity – perhaps when they were expecting animosity – all the could conjure in response was a word: “Merci.”

Maybe next time, they’ll come with a blank piece of paper, a permanent marker and, like is usually the case for families at sporting events, ask for an autograph rather than attempt an insult.


– By Rob Arnold