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Tour de France

Farce as inflatable arch collapse knocks Briton Adam Yates off bike – and he moves up the Tour de France standings

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 July, 2016, 11:12am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 July, 2016, 11:20am

Bloodied British rider Adam Yates said he was lucky to suffer only a few cuts after an inflatable arch collapsed on him at the Tour de France on Friday, knocking him off his bike.

Yates hit the ground hard, bloodying his chin and bruising his shoulder. Still, he was able to get back on his bike and reach the finish shortly after his countryman Steve Cummings won the first of four stages in the Pyrenees with a solo attack on the Col d’Aspin climb.

The 23-year-old Briton was left with two stitches in his chin after suffering a facial cut and he then received a timely boost when race organisers tweaked with the results as a result of the mishap, propelling Yates to second overall in the standings.

“Thanks to everyone for the messages of support! Few more cuts to my chin for the collection but otherwise got off pretty lucky!” he said on Twitter.

He had attacked at the top of the day’s final climb of the 162.5km seventh stage from L’Isle Jourdain to Lac de Payolle in a bid to gain time on rivals.

There was a 7km descent to the finish and when he arrived at the inflatable arch marking the final kilometre, it fell on top of him, knocking him off his bike.

“I’m disappointed. There’s not much you can do. I had no time to react,” said the rider from Australian team Orica when interviewed by French TV at the finish.

“It’s a good job it was just me on my own. It could have been a lot worse with the peloton sprinting at 70km/h.

“It is what it is. Nothing can be done about it. I can’t tell you what happened. The barrier came down.”

The incident – triggered by a fan getting too close to the base of the arch and accidentally dislodging a pin holding it in place, thus letting the air out of the inflatable banner – meant that organisers decided to take the official stage times from the 3km-to-go mark rather than on the finishing line.

It meant Yates has moved up to second overall in the standings at 5 minutes and 50 seconds behind surprise leader Greg van Avermaet.

He also took hold of the white jersey for the best young rider by one second from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe.

That was his aim when attacking at the top of the climb as he started the day only six seconds previous white jersey holder Julian Alaphilippe in that competition.

Yates originally rolled over the line several minutes after the peloton of the leading contenders, including Alaphilippe.