Tour de France: Froome loses lead after crash

After crashing into a motorbike, Chris Froome lost the Tour de France lead at the dying stages of the 12th stage on Mont Ventoux. The stage was won by Belgium's Thomas De Gendt.

Thomas De Gendt of Belgium won the 12th stage of Tour de France, but his win was overshadowed by the drama surrounding Chris Froome's crash.   -  Getty Images

After crashing into a motorbike, Chris Froome lost the Tour de France lead at the dying stages of the 12th stage on Mont Ventoux. Adam Yates was the beneficiary, as he now leads the championship. The stage was won by Belgium's Thomas De Gendt.

Briton Froome was with Australian Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands when all three crashed into a motorcycle that was brought to a standstill by a wall of fans. Froome tried to ride on but his bike was broken and he started running up the climb before being given first a neutral bike, which he found unrideable, and then finally a team bike to finish the 12th stage.

The incident cost him terribly and having started the day with a 28sec lead over Yates, he now trails his 23-year-old countryman by 53sec in the provisional standings, down in sixth place.





The race jury will have to decide whether or not the incident falls into the realm of a racing incident or whether extenuating circumstances will force a change in the standings.

Froome's sports director at Sky, Nicolas Portal said: "We'll wait for the jury's decision." He continued: "The motorcycle couldn't pass because of thousands of fans. It's not one, two or ten but for 200-metres there were hundreds of fans. It's a behaviour... I don't know how to describe it."

Froome's main rivals, including Colombian Nairo Quintana were also held up by the crash as a throng of fans obstructed the road. Porte hit the motorbike with Froome next and Mollema also running into the back of the vehicle.

By the time the other overall contenders reached that point, the whole road was blocked and no-one could get through.

But the over-riding sight of the 178km 12th stage from Montpellier to Mont Ventoux, was the yellow jersey of Froome running on foot inside the final kilometre in a desperate attempt to save his race. That Belgian Thomas De Gendt won the stage on the mythical mountain was barely a footnote amongst the incredible drama surrounding Froome.

Yates is the new leader - provisionally at least - by just nine seconds from Mollema, who was the first able to get up and ride on to finish 10th on the stage, with Quintana third at 14sec.

Froome lost 1min 40sec to Mollema in the catastrophic incident which is being investigated by Tour organisers. Depending on what they decide, Froome could even find himself back in yellow when an official and final decision is made.

(with inputs from agencies)