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Tour bites back at Chris Froome after farce of Lance Armstrong’s return

Briton will take his chance with an appeal on Tuesday but the mood in France is hardening against Team Sky and their four-time winner

There is an old mantra in French cycling that no rider is ever bigger than the Tour de France, and in dramatically seeking to block Chris Froome from starting this year’s race, ASO, the promoter, has the bitter legacy of Lance Armstrong in mind.

In 2009, when Armstrong made his ill-fated comeback, the Tour brushed away suspicions and welcomed him with open arms. American audiences were flagging, the racing was pedestrian and the Tour lacked drama. The Texan was box-office and guaranteed profile and revenues. Three years later, however, came the American’s confession to a career built on doping. Having allowed Armstrong to make fools of it, new sensibilities have come into play.

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