France Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah, riders at the Tour de France and golfers at the British Open led tributes Friday from the world of sport to the victims of the Nice terror attack, AFP reports.
The Tour’s 13th stage only went ahead amid heightened security after Thursday night’s truck attack on the French Riviera city which killed at least 84 people. Organisers declared cycling’s blue riband event in mourning, with a minute’s silence held at the start of the time trial stage at Bourg-Saint-Andeol.
Another silent tribute was held at the end of the day’s riding at La Caverne du Pont d’Arc in the Ardeche region. Defending champion Chris Froome said he felt particularly affected by the tragedy as he lives in Monaco, a short way along the Mediterranean coast from Nice.
“It’s pretty close to home for me, I do a lot of training on those roads,” said the 31-year-old Briton. “To see the Promenade (des Anglais) the way it was yesterday evening, with bodies all over the road… it was horrific scenes.”
Tom Dumoulin, who won the stage, said it was the right decision to keep racing. “It made me very sad when I woke up this morning. I wondered if the Tour would continue or not,” said Dumoulin. “It’s horrific but it’s a good decision to keep racing. We cannot let the terrorists decide how we should be living.”
At Royal Troon, golfers wore black ribbons on their caps for the second round of the Open Championship. The French flag flew at half mast over one of the stands around the 18th green at Troon on Scotland’s west coast.
‘Pray for Nice’
France’s Clement Sordet, who lives in Nice, sported the message ‘Pray for Nice’. “My thoughts are with the families and the victims. I woke up at 4am and tried to find out what had been going on, mainly on the radio,” Sordet said at the end of his round.
“The attack happened less than 500 metres from where I live. My girlfriend’s family come from there.” A minute’s silence was also observed at Roscoff, on the Brittany coast on the first day of the Tour de France sailing regatta, which finishes on July 31 in the stricken Riviera resort of Nice.
The attack cast a pall over France’s quarter-final Davis Cup clash in the Czech Republic. “We woke up in sadness. We are all affected so much,” France captain Noah, on the verge of tears, told journalists before the tie in the eastern Czech town of Trinec.
The French tennis great described the Bastille Day massacre as a heavy blow “for us, for our country, for all who are trying to give happiness.” “Pray for Nice,” read a sign held by French fans, accompanied by a red heart.
The French team and officials stood together wearing black ribbons on their jackets. They joined fans in singing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, after a minute’s silence.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal paid tribute in a message in French. “I’ve heard the news, and I am horrified by what’s happened in Nice. Support to the French people, to all the victims and their families” the 14-time major winner tweeted.
La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona expressed their sorrow. European champions Real “deeply regret the attack in Nice and want to convey our solidarity with the victims, families and all the French people”.
Real star Gareth Bale, the Wales captain who led his country to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, took to Twitter, posting: “This has to stop!!! My thoughts are with everyone in Nice ” alongside a heart in the French tricolor.
Barcelona also took to social media to relay their “shock and grief after the attack in Nice. All our love and affection to the families and friends of the victims.”