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Great Britain's Geraint Thomas, right, wearing the leader's yellow jersey, and other riders wait for the race to resume.

Stage 11 last week, a 108.5-kilometer leg from Albertville to the La Rosiere ski resort, saw elite riders such as Alejandro Valverde attack from far out, forcing Team Sky to increase its pace far earlier than it would have liked.

And with a downhill finish, it is likely to entice the dozens of riders who have yet to join a breakaway, let alone win a stage.

"As we and the riders are trying to ease the pressure, it's wrong that a team manager pours oil on the fire".

That may be true, but Team Sky doesn't treat the Tour like a popularity contest - it's a race and they are desperate to win it... again.

'We've just done the Tour of Italy and the Italians were fantastic and the Spanish the same.

International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient urged Sir Dave Brailsford on Tuesday not to insult French fans after the Team Sky principal said spitting and booing at riders was a "French thing".

"I don't think it's going to stop - I'm not too optimistic on that front", he said of their hostile reception around France.

Yorick Jansens  Global Look Press
Yorick Jansens Global Look Press

Froome sits second in the general classification, 1 minute, 39 seconds behind Sky teammate Thomas.

Thomas spent his post-race press conference answering questions about the negativity Sky so often face in France - a situation unlikely to be helped by Moscon's actions, particularly as he struck out at a Frenchman.

"I've learned a lot about his mental strength, the "never say die" attitude and how you deal with everything that's thrown at you in this race - that's what's most impressive". "I'm sure it will be good to watch, maybe not to race".

Although 218 km long and with four categorised climbs, none of the ascents on Tuesday's 16th stage are over nine kilometres long.

Froome was initially barred from starting his title defence by organizers because of the suspicion surrounding his "adverse analytical finding" for the asthma drug salbutamol at the Tour of Spain a year ago.

"I'm thinking day by day".

Thomas praised Froome's "mental strength and his never-say-die attitude", two qualities that he will need to show in the coming days if he's to enter Paris triumphant on Sunday.