Chris Froome has been caught on camera appearing to punch a supporter before going on to secure victory at stage eight of the Tour de France.
The Team Sky rider was handed the yellow jersey but was later fined 200 Swiss francs (£157) for “inappropriate behaviour” after striking out at the man running alongside the Peleton at the Bagneres-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees.
It has since been suggested that the fan, wearing a Columbia football shirt, was cheering on compatriot Nairo Quintana, angering Froome as he made steady progress in the race.
Froome, 31, remains on course to win his third title in four years after tasting success in both the 2013 and 2015 Tours. The Nairobi-born rider denied Adam Yates, 23, the race lead but the Brit nonetheless retained the young riders' white jersey.
Addressing the fan’s behaviour afterwards, Froome, who had urine thrown on him last year, said: “This guy in particular was running right next to my handlebars that had a flag that was flying behind him. It was just getting dangerous, so I pushed him away.
“I lashed out and pushed him away. It's fantastic having so many fans out on the route but please, please, I urge the fans: don't try and run with the riders. It's really dangerous for the guys behind.
“It was really just a spur of the moment thing. I felt like a kid again, just trying to ride my bike as fast as I could. I was taking a risk but I'm glad I did. I couldn't be happier to be back in yellow.”
Team Sky team principal David Brailsford added of Froome’s victory: “When people start thinking you're predictable and conservative and everything else, you always have the element of surprise. We thought we'd use that this year.
“The descent shows a lot about Chris. He made the decision and when he sees the opportunity, he takes it and he never ceases to amaze. That's why he's won two Tours de France.”
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