Cycling: UCI chief Cookson not happy with increase in hooliganism in Tour de France

UCI president Brian Cookson  during the podium ceremony of the 98th Giro d'Italia on May 21, 2015.
UCI president Brian Cookson during the podium ceremony of the 98th Giro d'Italia on May 21, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - World cycling chief Brian Cookson has warned of a rise in hooliganism on Tour de France routes and said winner Chris Froome was the target of nasty insults.

After one of the most controversial races in recent years, Cookson said the number of "tired" riders on the Tour made him believe tougher doping tests are having an impact.

"There were some regrettable incidents on the tour," the International Cycling Union (UCI) president said on the sidelines of International Olympic Committee meetings in Kuala Lumpur.

"I am worried about the beginnings of an element of hooliganism coming towards our sport which we have largely been able to avoid in recent years.

"Everyone needs to be a little bit careful for the future."

He pointed out Briton Froome's claims that urine and beer were thrown at him and crowds spat at him following French media reports casting doubt on his performances.

But there was also vandalism.

Cookson said the incidents could be isolated but had made him very uncomfortable.

"The Tour, all of cycle racing is a great free sport. It is possible to get close to the athletes, to the competitors, in a way that is not really possible in any other sport.

"If we want that to continue, then we all have a responsibility to behave."