SUNDAY TIMES JOURNALIST David Walsh drew much ire from cycling fans with his article ‘Why I believe in Chris Froome’.
Many enthusiasts of the sport, such as Walsh’s long-time friend Paul Kimmage, remain skeptical about the super-human efforts of Tour de France winner Froome and his Team Sky colleagues.
However Walsh, a firm anti-doping advocate and an ardent pursuer of doping cheat Lance Armstrong, also came in for criticism from Irish cycling fans that lined the route on Stage 18 of the tour.
More than 1,000 Irish supporters were present — many of them congregating at corner 10 of the climb, or Irish Corner — as cyclists climbed Alpe d’Huez twice and battled for supremacy.
Walsh’s article made reference to abuse, which he felt was most disappointing, that fell up the Team Sky riders and support team on the climb. He wrote, “The abuse was worst at those parts of the climb populated by Irish and Dutch fans.”
Many Irish fans that were present on the day contacted Walsh, and his newspaper, demanding apologies over false accusations and generalisations. Walsh looked into the matter and, this evening, sent a four-part tweet clarifying his position. Parts 2-4 read:
It was based on multiple conversations with members of Sky team, especially staff members, who also said Dutch corner was the worst… from emails and chats with Irish people at Corner 10, I realise worst offenders were group of French fans who could be classed as thugs… I apologise to the many Irish fans who behaved properly at Corner 10 and felt offended by my generalisation.”
Walsh has not responded to Kimmage’s protestations, on the Second Captains podcast, that he found aspects of Walsh’s column insulting.