Briton Chris Froome believed lose the yellow jersey but eventually kept after a chaotic end to the finish of the 12th stage, the Chalet Reynard, on the slopes of Mont Ventoux.
“The Ventoux is full of surprises,” responded Froome by getting the yellow jersey … one hour after the finish of this stage won by Belgian Thomas De Gendt.
New images, incredible, showed the outgoing Tour winner run off the road, waiting for a spare bike. Moments after falling along with the two riders present with him, Australian Richie Porte and Dutchman Bauke Mollema, while the Colombian climber Nairo Quintana was distanced.
“Before the last kilometer, motorcycle braked block ahead (Door, Mollema, Froome, Ed), it is into him. Behind, a motorcycle broke my bike. I had to run on foot, I knew the car with my other bike was too far, five minutes behind, “said Froome.
The Briton crossed the line lingered over a minute after the candidates to the podium.
The first unofficial standings Froome placed in sixth place, 53 seconds of his compatriot Adam Yates, who was second at the start of the 178 km Montpellier.
The cycling races resolution provides that a runner is awarded the same time as the riders with whom he is, incident in the last three kilometers. But this provision does not apply in the summit finishes, hence the complexity of the case.
Victory for De Gendt
“It was clearly an accident, it happens,” said Dave Brailsford, the team boss of Froome (Sky) citing exceptional circumstances: “It was not intentional. No one can imagine that this is done on purpose. ”
“For me, this is a fair decision. Richie (Porte), Chris (Froome) and Mollema were the best today, “added Brailsford who joked:” Next year, Chris will make perhaps the Paris Marathon! ”
Quintana, which accelerated twice in the ascent of Mont Ventoux, then dropped by foot. He crossed the line a few seconds after the group Yates.
“We can not do our work in good conditions,” lamented Romain Bardet, who is on a par with Yates and progressed a place ranking (5th) for the benefit of the decline in Irish Dan Martin. “I had never seen that in a bicycle race!”
For the gain of the stage, De Gendt, who rides for the Lotto team, willing his compatriot Serge Pauwels on the line installed 6 kilometers from the summit of Bald Mountain, where wind gusts exceeding 100 km / h had brought the day before organizers to shorten the stage.
Therefore, the road was not barriérée as usual, in the last kilometers.
Friday, the classification must still move after the against the clock of 37.5 km planned in the Ardèche, between Bourg-Saint-Andéol and the Cave of the Pont-d’Arc.
Advantage is granted to Froome medalist (bronze) Olympic discipline and winner of the year in 2013 on the demanding course of Chorges, as well as door.
But it should be noted that Quintana, winner against the clock to South Road last month, was equal game this season with Froome in the “chrono” of the Tour de Romandie.
The general classification of the Tour de France
1. Chris Froome (GBR / Sky) 57h11: 33
2. Adam Yates (GBR / ORI) at 0:47
3. Bauke Mollema (NED / TRE) 0:56
4. Nairo Quintana (COL / MOV) 1:01
5. Romain Bardet (FRA / ALM) 1:15
6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP / MOV) 1:39
7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA / BMC) 0:57
8. Fabio Aru (ITA / AST) 1:07
9. Daniel Martin (IRL / ETI) 1:09
10. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP / KAT) 1:24