Pandemonium in Provence: Tour de France crowds out of control on Ventoux

Riders, teams blame race organisers, motorbikes for Froome incident

On a day that should have created enough drama of its own in sporting terms, the Tour de France stage 12 to Chalet Reynard on the Mont Ventoux turned into pandemonium thanks to heaving crowds of fans that closed in on the group of race leader Chris Froome (Sky), and his companions in the attack, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Richie Porte (BMC).

As they raced away from the rivals, Froome, Mollema and Porte tangled with a race motorcycle that was stopped by the pressing hordes. The motorcycle reportedly ran over Froome's bike and broke it, forcing the Sky rider to tackle the Ventoux on foot until he could get a spare from neutral support.

Race officials later reinstated the gaps the trio had on their rivals at the time of the incident, but the incident drew criticism from riders and directeurs, who took to social media to protest the lack of security for the riders outside of the final few hundred meters on the Ventoux. While there were many complaints about security, few objected to the race officials decision to keep Froome in the race lead, except perhaps Mollema.

Stage winner Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): "I don't know what happened, I just saw it on TV. There were a lot of people in the last kilometre. They should think of doing something about it. I got pushed, Serge got pushed, we almost crashed. There wasn't even room for one moto."

Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team): "If you can’t control the crowds what can you control? It’s not really the motorbikes, it’s the crowd. They’re just in your face the whole time, pushing riders and at the top there, that was just crazy.”

Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo): “Somehow we’ve gotten this scene where everyone wants to get on TV for a party. You have guys dressed up in Borat costumes showing their ass, and it’s more about themselves than supporting the race sometimes. I don’t understand why you have to act like a buffoon."

Best young rider Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange): "It was pretty dangerous in the last kilometre but the fans make the sport and there’s not many sports where fans can get so close to the athletes. It is what it is."

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale): "There were so many motorbikes in the way, it wasn't safe. You had to brake when you were attacking. We need to have a long conversation about security here. It was unacceptable what happened today. I don't know what will happen with the maillot jaune. I have never seen anything like this on a bike race before."

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