Bikeless Froome retains Tour lead after crash chaos
CHRIS Froome retained the yellow jersey in the most bizarre circumstances after stage 12 of the Tour de France ended in chaos on the slopes of Mont Ventoux.
Froome was reduced to running up the mountain after his bike was broken when he, Australian Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema collided with a television motorbike less than one kilometre from the finish on the crowded mountain.
Froome lost around a minute and a half on his rivals on the road and slipped to sixth on the provisional general classification, 53 seconds behind fellow Briton Adam Yates, before the race jury intervened and ruled Froome should keep the yellow jersey.
Porte collided heavily with the motorbike, before Froome and others followed in being knocked off their bikes.
As the accident unfolded, TV footage captured Froome running up the mountain, before he took one of his teammates' bikes to continue the ascent. As a result, Froome lost time to all of his general classification rivals, although it was not immediately clear if Froome would lose the yellow jersey as race officials can rule to neutralise the race and ensure that Froome would keep his lead.
Had the result stood, Froome would have dropped down to sixth, 53 seconds off the new leader Adam Yates. However, he took Twitter shortly after the stage finished to say "Still in the #YellowJersey #TDF" in apparent confirmation that the accident caused the race to be neutralised, maintaining his 47-second lead over Yates in the general classification.
Thomas De Gendt won the shortened stage, which had already been reduced by six kilometres due to gale-force winds on the peak of Mont Ventoux.
Porte criticised the organisation of the stage after fans littered the road, leaving the riders only enough space for them to ride single-file up the steep climb.
"The crowd were all over the road and it was such a mess," Porte said immediately afterwards. "I don't know what they're going to do but they're going to have to do something about it.
"That can't stand, some sort of discretion has to be used.
"It was just crazy."
Froome has already landed himself in crowd trouble during this year's Tour de France after he punched a man wearing a Colombia shirt who impeded the two-time champion. Froome hit the man in the face after he feared the flag that was draped around the man - who appeared to be supporting Froome's rival Nairo Quintana - would become tangled in his wheels.