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Tour de France

Running man: Chris Froome tweets ‘still in yellow jersey’ after sensational crash on monster Mont Ventoux

Reigning Tour de France champion says on social site that he retains oberall lead despite crash that saw Briton try to run up final kilometre of notorious mountain stage

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 July, 2016, 12:24am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 July, 2016, 12:24am

Reigning champion Chris Froome breifly switched from cycling to running up Mont Ventoux in the 12th stage of the Tour de France after a sensational crash into a motorbike on the final climb on Thursday.

Earlier media reports said Froome had lost the yellow jersey, but the Briton tweeted: still in yellow jersey”.

Froome was with BMC rider Richie Porte from Australia and Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands (Trek Segafredo), when all three crashed into a TV motorbike that was held up by 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 and then a team bike to finish the 12th stage.

His main rivals, including Colombian Nairo Quintana were also held up by the crash as a throng of fans obstructed the road.

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 and sadly comic attempt to save his race.

That Belgian Thomas De Gendt won the stage on the mythical mountain was barely a footnote among the incredible drama surrounding Froome.

Froome lost 1 minute and 40 seconds in the catastrophic incident which is being investigated by Tour organisers.

“The motorbike could not progress and there was a pile-up in which Chris’ bike was broken,” said Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal. “It was a nightmare.”

Portal added he was also held up behind the race stewards and could not drive up to his rider, so that his mechanic could hand him a spare bike.

“It’s an incident created by the event. There are more and more people lining up the road. It’s got nothing to do with sport,” the Frenchman said.

“It was crazy. On a 200-metre portion there were hundreds of spectators blocking the road.”

Froome had been the strongest of the top favourites in a stage shortened because of violent winds at top of the Ventoux, dropping main rival Quintana of Colombia with about 3km left as only Porte and Mollema could follow his pace.

Without the incident, the double Tour champion was set to extend his overall lead.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse