Belgium’s Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) had already won the shortened stage to Chalet Reynard – six kilometres below the wind-ravaged summit of Mont Ventoux – and secured the polka dot jersey in doing so when the latest controversy involving an official race motor vehicle turned the race on its head.
Froome runs without a bike in chaotic conclusion to stage 12 - Eurosport
Fans flocking to the fabled Giant of Provence on Bastille Day encroached on the road in the final kilometre, forcing a TV motorbike to come to a sudden standstill while filming a select group containing Froome, his former team-mate Richie Porte (BMC) and Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).
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All three riders careered into the motorbike, with Porte colliding face first before bringing down the others in a tangle of limbs and carbon. But while the Australian and Mollema were able to remount and complete the final kilometre to Chalet Reynard, Froome’s bike was damaged forcing the yellow jersey to panic and start running through the throng of spectators.
After what seemed like an eternity, Froome received a neutral bike from the Mavic support car but struggled on this unfamiliar steed as rival Nairo Quintana, who had earlier been unable to keep up with Froome’s fast pace, rode past in a group that also included Yates, who was provisionally declared the new race leader. Once back on a replacement Pinarello from his Team Sky support car, Froome was paced over the finish line in utter disbelief to come home 1:40 behind tenth-place Mollema – the first of the GC favourites to complete the 178-kilometre stage from Montpellier. Initial results saw defending champion Froome drop to sixth in the general classification 53 seconds down on Orica-BikeExchange’s Yates. But the race jury took a bold decision to reinstate Froome at the summit, the Team Sky rider actually extending his lead to 47 seconds over fellow Briton Yates, whose time in yellow lasted less than half an hour.
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