Chris Froome (Team Sky) was forced to abandon his bike and run towards the finish at the end of stage 12 of the Tour de France to Chalet Reynard after the stage turned to chaos in the final kilometre.
Froome, Richie Porte (BMC) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) had attacked together but then they rode into the back of a television motorbike that seemed to stop suddenly, possibly due to the road being blocked ahead by spectators. All three crashed and their rivals managed to ride past them.
Mollema got going quickly but Froome needed a new bike.
In the panic, he began to run up the road, sensing that the finish was not far away. He soon stopped and called his team on the radio. However, the Team Sky car was blocked in the chaos and so Froome took a spare bike from the Mavic neutral service. Yet even that failed to help him. It was not the right size and Froome had problem.
He eventually got a team bike and raced to the line trying to limit his losses. However, he finished close to two minutes back, shaking his head as he crossed the line.
"What a final. In the final kilometre, the moto braked suddenly in front of us, and Richie, Bauke and I crashed into it, and then the moto behind me ran over my bike and broke it," Froome said. "I said to myself 'I have no bike'. And I knew the car with my bike was 5 minutes behind on the road, so I need to run."
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Due to his time loss, Froome was initially shown as slipping to sixth in the overall classification, 53 seconds down on Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange). However, officials revised the results, gave Froome and Porte the same finishing time as Mollema, meaning Froome kept his yellow jersey. He is now 47 seconds ahead of Yates and 56 seconds ahead of Mollema. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who was in a chase group behind, is fifth at 1:01.
"I'm very happy with the commissaires' decision. I think it was correct so thank you to them," Froome said.
Team Sky's director Nicolas Portal weighed in on the situation saying, "There was no room for the motos or the riders to pass with the crowds. Chris' bike was broken in the crash and now we're waiting to see if commissaires decide to do something. I was blocked by the commissaires so I was behind Geraint Thomas when the incident happened. We were too far back. Everybody was blocked, including the Mavic neutral service car. It was a nightmare.”
Yates sportingly admitted that he didn't want to take yellow as a consequence of the chaos and Froome's time loss.
"I wouldn’t really want to take the yellow jersey like that, so I’m happy with the decision," he said.
"If I was in Froome’s position and I’d lost the jersey like that, I’d have wanted the same decision as him. 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. I wouldn’t have wanted to take the jersey like that. Froome is the rightful owner of the yellow jersey."