Chris Froome was spat at, punched and a fan even mooned at him as another thrilling Tour de France stage was marred by unaccepable roadside manners.
Geraint Thomas won his second consecutive stage, and retained the Yellow Jersey, with defending champion Froome crossing the line just four seconds behind him, in an exhilarating finale.
Thomas is the first British rider to win on the Alpe d’Huez – a French stronghold where home riders had won the last three races to the top.
Le Tour’s signature climb features 21 hairpin bends in 8.7 miles of uphill torture to the ski resort – but for Froome, it also contained small pockets of the hooligan behaviour Team Sky had feared would follow him after his salbutamol case.
Inside the last four miles, it looked as if one fan emerged from the crowds and spat at Britain’s four-times winner.
Then another punter dropped his yellow shorts as the Sky train went past, and then a burly chap in a white T-shirt appeared to aim a left jab at Froome, although it did not knock him off course.
Once inside the barriers, Froome was safe from any more nonsense, and for the second day running, he played second fiddle to Thomas – only just – as cycling’s Prince of Wales left his team-mate, Romain Bardet, Tom Dumoulin and Mikel Landa behind in a five-way dash to the line.
The general classification big guns had reeled in long-time leader Steven Kruijswijk expertly, and although Froome finished the stage fourth, and lost another 14 seconds to Thomas on the overall standings, nobody at Team Sky was complaining.