Chris Froome (Team Sky) has been penalised 20 seconds by the Tour de France race judges after the stage to Alpe d'Huez for illegally taking an energy bar from the team car in the final kilometres of the stage.
Under UCI race rules, feeding from a team car is only allowed before the final part of a stage for road safety reasons. For the finish on Alpe d'Huez, feeding was banned six kilometres from the finish. However Froome became desperate about taking on some fuel in the final five kilometres of the climb, and ate some food that teammate Richie Porte had collected from the team car.
The Australian was also penalised 20 seconds according to an official race communiqué. Team Sky directeur sportif Nicolas Portal was also penalised. He was fined 1000 Swiss francs. Froome and Porte were fined 200 Swiss francs.
Froome finished the stage 57 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador but his time gain was later cut to 37 seconds. However the 20-second time penalty had little effect on Froome's overall race lead. He now leads Contador by 5:11. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is third overall at 5:32.
Froome tried to limit the significance of his problems in the final kilometres, revealing that the Team Sky car had suffered some kind of mechanical problem and so had struggled to feed them before the start of the final climb.
"At the end of the day a rule is a rule and if I’ve been given 20 seconds I’ll have to take that, but if you look at the technicality it was actually Richie Porte who fed from the car not myself. I fed from Richie Porte so maybe that’s something that needs to be taken in consideration," he said.
"I’m just happy to get through the stage and come out of it with more of an advantage than I went into it.
"We had a mechanical problem with the car so it wasn't with us at the bottom of the last climb, that was the problem. I was just getting in (to the finish) the best I could in the last few kilometres. I don’t know if getting something from the car made any difference really."
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