Chris Froome has said he will tell spectators protesting against his presence at the Tour de France to “Go jump.”
In past editions of the race, which the 33-year-oold has won four times, Team Sky have encountered hostility from some spectators due to suspicions that his victories have not been achieved cleanly.
Examples include riders being verbally abused, while Richie Porte was punched during the 2015 edition, a year when Team Sky
In that edition, Froome was spat at by a spectator and also had urine thrown at him. He blamed ex-pros turned TV pundits Laurent Jalabert and Cedric Vasseur for stoking anti-Sky sentiment.
The dropping of the case against him means that Froome is certain to be the target of further abuse from the roadside over the next three wseeks.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live programme Bespoke, the 33-year-old said: "We've raced under trying circumstances at the Tour for the last six years.
"There is always some kind of confrontation out on the road but it's always a minority and it's just something you have to deal with."
The defending champion was cleared of a potential anti-doping rule violation and was formally named in Team Sky’s squad this morning for the three-week race, which starts on Saturday.
Organisers ASO had planned to exclude him from the race while the case relating to his adverse analytical finding for excessive levels of the anti-asthma drug salbutamol at last year’s Vuelta remained unresolved.
However, yesterday race director Christian Prudhomme said that following the UCI’s announcement that it had closed the procedure, Froome would take to the start line in the Vendée on Saturday.
On his way to victory during Stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia which put him in the maglia rosa and helped set up his overall win, a spectator ran alongside Froome waving a giant asthma inhaler.
BBC Sport asked Froome what he would tell anyone trying a similar stunt at the Tour de France, to which the Team Sky rider replied: “Go jump.”
Froome was notified of the adverse analytical finding in September while preparing for the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen later the same day, where he finished third.
The news became public knowledge in December following a joint investigation by The Guardian and Le Monde, which Froome believes didn’t help matters.
He said: "Information that wasn't correct was being circulated and I wasn't able to put my side of events across, so it's been a trying past nine months.
"I take my leadership position within the sport seriously and I wouldn't want to tarnish it so this is a huge victory to have this behind me.
"I can go into the next month of racing without any question marks over my head," added Froome, who is seeking a record-equalling fifth overall victory in the race.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.