Dan Martin’s diary: Respect between riders and fans paramount
A spectator throwing urine at Chris Froome is a worrying development
Chris Froome: the race leader from Team Sky had urine thrown in his face by a spectator. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty
Racing aside, perhaps the biggest headlines this week from the Tour de France was the news that a spectator had thrown urine at the race leader Chris Froome. His Sky team in general has been getting hassle from some by the roadside, who are accusing them of doping.
I was riding alongside Chris’s Sky team-mate Richie Porte yesterday when a fan spat at him. I’m staggered by that, and just find it disgusting that people would act that way. Why would you even come to a bike race to abuse those you are watching?
You have to respect these guys . . .hey are human beings as well. It is an absolutely disgusting attitude to bring to the race.
Fortunately it is something that is rarely seen with cycling fans. We are usually very lucky to have a really good relationship with them – normally there is no animosity from fans. It is usually a party-like atmosphere on the side of the road.
This Tour has been different in places. I rode with Richie for the last 25, 30 kilometres and every now and again you hear a boo or somebody shouts something about doping. I just don’t understand it at all. It is not big, it is not clever. It just astounds me that people can have that attitude towards another human being.
That is why it is quite intimidating., quite scary at times. It’s particularly so in the mountain stages when you are riding up these mountains. You are clipping people when you are riding past and they are clipping you.
Thing is, they can just reach out and touch you at any time. There is very little security if fans actually want to start getting aggressive.
The small minority could end up ruining the sport for the public. It is what makes the sport so special, that we have this intimate relationship with the fans. If people are going to start abusing that privilege, we are going to end up with barriers the whole way along the course and then nobody is going to be able to get near us.
You just have to hope that it dies out and we get back to having some positive headlines about the fans.
Personally, the past few days have been trying for a different reason. As I wrote in my last diary, I became sick with symptoms of a cold. The day after I wrote that I was actually close to not continuing in the Tour.
What happened was that on Friday evening I went to bed and developed a temperature, goose bumps all over. We had no air conditioning in the room and it was well over 30 degrees. That didn’t help the fact that my body temperature was 38.
I was not feeling too good, but I wrapped myself in wet towels and slept in them overnight. That seemed to do the trick and my temperature was back to normal Saturday.
As a result the team doctor let me start; it was really that hit and miss.
I was feeling weak during Saturday’s stage and just saved as much energy as possible, but I felt a lot better yesterday. That was really just as well; the start was incredibly hard, going straight up the hill, and there was a lot of hard racing as riders were trying to get a break going.
We’ve got a tough stage today which will likely go to a breakaway, then we have a rest day tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to that, using it to get some energy back before really hitting the more mountainous stages. Paris is beckoning but there’s still plenty of racing to do first.