The large number of anti-fracking protestors expected to demonstrate against Team Ineos and their owner Jim Ratcliffe failed to appear on stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire, with team principal Dave Brailsford highlighting that there were more fans outside the team bus than those wearing Ratcliffe ‘devil masks’ or protesting against Ineos’ involvement in cycling.
There were pockets of protestors both outside the Team Ineos bus and at the start line in Doncaster but at the finish in Selby a relaxed Brailsford appeared outside the Ineos bus to sign autographs and point out to the media that the passive and supportive crowds easily outnumbered the environmentalists who had turned up earlier in the day.
“I had to hunt them down first because I couldn’t find them,” Brailsford told Cyclingnews and a small group of journalists.
“There was hardly anybody there, let’s be honest – let’s be real for once. The 15,000-mob that was to attack me this morning didn’t really materialise. That’s the reality. There were people there with the right to an opinion and I respect that but they’ve got a right to their opinion and that’s it.”
In the buildup to the race, Team Ineos faced criticism from environmental and local groups over the petrochemical company’s plastic and fracking businesses. On Wednesday the team bused the media to a secret location in the Yorkshire countryside in a bid to stop protestors appearing at the team launch.
When asked whether he and the team had any concerns over unveiling Ineos as the lead sponsor at the Tour de Yorkshire, Brailsford pushed back, despite Wednesday’s level of secrecy.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com