Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) has criticised the UCI for their handling of the crash in the final kilometres of stage 12 of the Tour de France. Mollema, Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Richie Porte (BMC) were all involved in a crash inside the final kilometre when a TV motorbike was forced to stop on the road pinned in by spectators.
Froome and Porte were given the same time as Mollema after they were forced to wait for replacement bikes. However, the crash caused an inevitable roadblock, and the UCI decided to give Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) the same time as Adam Yates, despite the Orica-BikeExchange rider finishing six seconds ahead of them on the stage.
Mollema remounted and finished well ahead of Froome, with initial results showing him second overall behind new leader Adam Yates. But the revised times moved Quintana back ahead of Mollema in the overall standings, although the Trek-Segafredo rider gained 19 seconds him, and is now two seconds behind him in fourth at 56 seconds from Froome. Mollema hinted that the decision might have been different had he been alone. Trek-Segafredo are appealing the decision.
"What's going on? Seems like everybody gets time bonuses. I wonder what would have happened if I would have been the only one to go down," he wrote on Twitter.
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Speaking after the stage, Mollema described the incident and said that more needed to be done to protect riders.
"I was able to follow Porte and Froome and the legs were good, so I was happy, and then in the last kilometre I don't know what happened but suddenly I was on the ground with Froome and Porte, we all crashed. I think that I was lucky to get back on the bike really quickly, and then I just went full gas until the finish, I didn't think about anything," Mollema told Cyclingnews as he warmed down, sheltered from the Ventoux winds by his team's bus. "It might have been because of the public; I didn't really see it. In one second, I was on the ground so I didn't know what happened.
"These days there are more climbs with so many people. I think, in the last kilometres, there should be fences always because if it's like this with so many people then it's so dangerous and then something like this can happen."
Up until the crash Mollema had been having a strong day, avoiding most of the trouble in the crosswinds. After missing Froome's initial attack midway up the Ventoux, Mollema recouped and bridged over to them soon after. The three had been building a lead over the chasers until they found their path blocked by the race moto.
"It was a really hard stage with the wind, echelons and it was a hard final. The team did a great job keeping me on the front all day and on the last climb I felt good," said Mollema. "First, I was a little bit in the back there so I let the other guys pull a bit and then I saw that they were riding away from us but not so fast. I still had something in the legs so I just closed the gap and I had to stay on the wheel for a few hundred metres just to recover for a little bit. I think that we worked well together, and then this happened in the last kilometre."