The first day of the Tour de Yorkshire was marred by anti-fracking protests aimed at Chris Froome’s Team Ineos.
Crowds gathered in Doncaster this morning for the start of the yearly cycling competition to welcome the strong-line up of riders, which includes Mark Cavendish and former world champion Chris Froome.
However, cycling fans were rivalled by anti-fracking groups there to condemn riders sponsored by energy giants Ineos.
The chemical company has attracted criticism for it’s links to fracking and large-scale production of plastic.
Ineos took over the sponsorship of Froome and his teammates who were formerly part of Team Sky.
The four-time Tour de France winner was booed when he was introduced to the stage in Doncaster town centre with protesters shouting ‘shame on you.’
One female protester said their problem was with the chemical company rather than the cyclists themselves.
She said: “They’re going to cause destruction of our countryside and pollution.
“As a process fracking is bad, it’s extremely harmful for the environment.”
Another woman said ‘it’s very simple, frack off!’
Ineos holds multiple licenses to frack for shale gas throughout Yorkshire, a process that groups says fuels climate change.
While there was no disruption to the race itself, protesters and fans clashed as events got underway.
As groups chanted ‘shame on you’ at Froome’s team others who were there to watch the cycling turned round and shouted the same back at the protesters.
The riders departed Doncaster town centre at 13.05 and will finish the day in Selby.
Stage Two of the tour will start in Barnsley tomorrow but it is unclear if further protests will take place.
“I wouldn’t want to get involved in fracking if it was dangerous,” team owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has previously said.
“I think it’s a real shame that the north of England is being deprived of cheaper energy, and it’s outrageous the government listens to a small noisy minority instead of looking at the science.”
Team Ineos has been contacted for comment.
You can keep up to date with all of the action tomorrow on our live blog.