• Chris Froome has had more than his racing rivals to worry about at this year's Tour de France (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The hatred against Team Sky leader Chris Froome showed its ugly side again when a spectator was seen spitting in his face during Stage 19.
Cycling Central

25 Jul 2015 - 7:54 AM  UPDATED 25 Jul 2015 - 1:02 PM

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The current holder of the race leader's yellow jersey was climbing to the finish line at La Toussuire after close to 140km of punishing racing when a spectator leaned in towards the Briton from the roadside and delivered a saliva-soaked insult.

The unsavoury incident comes just a few days after a cup of urine was thrown at the 2013 champion during Stage 14 of the race.

A small minority of race goers have targeted Team Sky through the past weeks, with Froome’s Australian team-mate, Richie Porte, punched in the ribs during Tuesday's stage and Luke Rowe also copping flack.

Urine thrown at Froome as Sky slams irresponsible pundits
Team Sky was left fuming after Stage 14 of the Tour de France as yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome reported having a cup of urine thrown at him during the race by a man yelling "doper" at him.

Froome blamed "irresponsible reporting" from some media companies as the fuel for the hatred, but luckily was unaware of last night's sour note.

“Fortunately for me I didn’t see it but a few journalists have brought that to my attention,” Froome said of the spitting.

“That is appalling behaviour. You can’t come to a bike race and punch riders, or throw urine at them or spit at them. That’s not acceptable.”

Rowe put out something of a seek-and-destroy message on Twitter in an effort to put an end to what has been relentless animosity towards his team.

Even without this ugly incident, it was a rough day for Sky.

Froome lost almost 30 seconds to his nearest general classification rival Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won the stage after attacking the Briton as he suffered a small mechanical issue.

Stage 19 extras
Nibali profits from 'unsportsmanlike' attack
While Vincenzo Nibali won Stage 19 of the Tour de France, the decisive attack came when race leader, Chris Froome, was pulled over on the side of the road.
Nibali bites back to win at La Toussuire
Vincenzo Nibali fought back from an unremarkable Tour de France defence to win Stage 19 and put himself back in contention for a podium place in Paris.

Froome was grateful for team-mate Wout Poels, who was his only real support across the final 70km of the stage as the rest of Sky’s men fell away.

Geraint Thomas suffered particularly badly and slipped from podium contention into 15th on the GC list.

“I was just empty today,” the Welshman said afterwards.

“Sometimes you’re the hammer, and sometimes you’re the nail. I was a cheapy, horrible little Ikea nail today.”

Read more from Geraint Thomas
Skyfall: Thomas tanks as podium spot slips away
Geraint Thomas kissed the Paris podium goodbye overnight as the effects of three long weeks on the bike took their toll on the Team Sky stalwart on Stage 19 of the Tour de France.

Froome remains confident of holding on to his lead with one serious stage remaining in the race, but he is more than aware of Quintana’s ability to spoil any Parisienne party plans.

“It’s going to be epic out there,” Froome said of Stage 20, which sees the riders finish atop the iconic Alpe d’Huez climb.

“It would be a dream to take the stage win, but I’ll have to keep up with a little Colombian first.”

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