Froome: I would never cheat to win Tour

David Lappartient is focused on guaranteeing the credibility of cycling

Throughout the process Froome maintained his innocence and the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) exonerated him on Monday, stating the results did not show any adverse analytical finding.

Froome's next mission is to seek a fourth consecutive Tour title, which would also be a fourth Grand Tour crown in a row after his victory in the Tour and Vuelta past year and the Giro d'Italia in May, not to mention the first Giro-Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998.

The Tour de France starts on Saturday from nearby Noirmoutier-en-Isle for an epic 21-day slog around France where Froome is favourite to win.

"Doing the Tour de France and the Vuelta (a Espana) a year ago taught me an wonderful amount about how to manage my training..."

"Now I just want to draw a line in the sand and move on", said Froome, who won the Giro d'Italia in May. "But I'd also like to think that now the facts have been established people can make up their own minds".

Earlier this week UCI president David Lappartient appealed to cycling fans for the safety of Froome in an interview posted on social media.

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"My advice to anyone who doesn't like Chris Froome or doesn't like Sky is to come and watch the race with some other shirt, of someone you do like, and support the Tour in that way".

As Team Sky - and Froome - were introduced to the crowds, they were met with boos and whistles alongside the clapping and cheering of fans.

"This is not the first time there has been this (negative) feeling (against the team)", Brailsford said when asked about reports in recent days suggesting Sky may be targeted.

"It's also important to respect all the riders, including Chris Froome - he is a former Tour victor and a serious contender for the next title".

"It's a massive goal for me, trying to target a fifth win here and fourth Grand Tour consecutively and the Giro-Tour double. We have to focus on our race".

The defending champion was squeezed out on a bend a little over five kilometres from the end of the 201km stage to Fontenay-le-Comte, which was won by Tour debutant Fernando Gaviria in a reduced sprint.

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