Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome keeps yellow jersey

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Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome keeps yellow jersey despite crash on chaotic Ventoux stage

Team Sky man runs up Mont Ventoux as roadside fans cause moto crash; Thomas de Gendt wins stage 12

Chris Froome remains the leader of the 2016 Tour de France after a commissaire ruling, despite having to run part the way up Mont Ventoux after a crash involving a TV moto and roadside fans.

Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) won stage 12 of the Tour de France at Chalet Reynard, the shortened finish of the Mont Ventoux stage, but the race was marred by the incident further back.

As race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) accelerated away from the GC group with Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) for company, the TV moto collided with roadside fans and took the three men out.

The incident left Froome and Porte without bikes, and saw the Team Sky man finish a couple of minutes down on his rivals and desperate for intervention by the race commisaires to retain his overall lead.

Luckily for Froome, however, they did just that – leaving him 47 seconds clear of second-placed Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) overall.

Chris Froome was taken out by a crash involving the TV moto and roadside fans (pic: Sirotti)

As is typical of Bastille Day, there was no shortage of French teams looking to get in the large day’s break.

Bryan Coquard and Sylvan Chavanel (Direct Energie) both made the split, as did Cyril Lemoine for Cofidis, alongside Spanish team-mate Daniel Navarro, while Fortuneo-Vital Concept were represented by Chris Anke Sorensen.

No FDJ riders made the split, but Iljo Keisse (Etixx-QuickStep), Thomas de Gendt and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Serge Pauwels and Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data), Sep Vanmarcke and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Stef Clement (IAM Cycling) were all there.

The large move was given plenty of leeway to attack – the gap going up to more than 18 minutes at its peak as the peloton kept plenty in reserve for the climb to Chalet Reynard.

A five-man counter-attack chased behind, with Diego Rosa (Astana) the most notable rider in the group, but they found themselves in no-man’s land for much of the stage.

High winds, and the ramping up of the pace in the peloton – Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) in particular helping to cut the deficit to eight minutes on the Col des Trois Termes – also saw the bunch thinned out.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), in the polka dot jersey, was among those spat out the back alongside green jersey Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida), Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) and Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) – whose white jersey hopes are all fading fast.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) were also among those caught out, with the former’s absence almost proving costly for team leader Fabio Aru when he suffered an ill-timed mechanical.

Having initially taken a team-mate’s bike, Aru then swapped bikes just as the pace in the peloton was ramped up, and is likely to have to explain a couple of ‘sticky bottles’ and the drafting of the Astana team car to the race commissaires as he chased back on.

The wind caused havoc at the front of the massively reduced bunch too, with Simon Gerrans (Orica-BikeExchange) – leading the peloton at the time – sliding out on a blustery corner and taking Team Sky riders Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard with him, with several other Sky riders held up.

Yellow jersey Chris Froome took the absence of his team-mates as a chance to answer a call of nature and chase back on with them – Nairo Quintana’s Movistar coming to the front of the bunch and, as per the spirit of the peloton, refusing to kick on until the maillot jaune was back.

The slowing of the pace increased the gap to the breakaway, just as it looked to be rapidly coming down, and allowed a lot of those off the back – including the three young riders, but not Pinot – to rejoin the peloton.

Richie Porte crashed into the back of a race motorbike as he, Froome and Bauke Mollema accelerated away from the bunch (pic: Sirotti)

Greipel was the first man in the breakaway to try a solo effort, with the road kicking up from Bedoin before the real climbing started.

When the climbing did start, it didn’t take long for the break to fall apart – the three chief climbers in the group, namely De Gendt, Pauwels and Navarro – quickly distancing their companions.

In the peloton, Pierre Rolland briefly attacked off the front with Team Sky setting a pace which quickly shed plenty of riders just behind.

Up front, Chavanel managed to get back to the front trio, but another acceleration by Pauwels allowed him and Navarro to push on.

Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) were next to attack, with the latter’s move a foil for Nairo Quintana to kick on but Team Sky responded well, with Wout Poels closing the gap.

That flurry of activity obliterated the peloton again, with Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), who started the day third overall, dropped from the GC group, as was Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff).

At the front De Gendt came back strong to rejoin the front group, and attacked with 3.5km remaining – earning a gap that Pauwels and Navarro struggled to close.

Poels and Sergio Henao continued to lead the small GC group more than six minutes down the road, meanwhile, with Froome, Quintana and Valverde lined out behind.

BMC Racing duo Tejay van Garderen and Porte were also present, alongside Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who was next to accelerate.

Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), white jersey Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange), Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Mollema were all sat in the wheels meanwhile.

Adam Yates was provisional leader of the Tour de France as a result of the incident – and his own strong ride up to Chalet Reynard – but stays second overall (pic: Sirotti)

As the GC group started to pick off the initial escapees, Froome took the opportunity to kick-on, with Porte on his wheel and Quintana could not stick with the move.

Up the road, Pauwels and De Gendt led the way, shoulder-to-shoulder and talking to each other, but Navarro recovered with 500m to go to join them on the final stretch to Chalet Reynard.

De Gendt led the sprint out, however, and could not be brought back as he celebrated a big stage win.

All eyes then turned to the riders further back, with Mollema bridging across to Froome and Porte and the trio distanced the Quintana group.

Disaster struck, however as the TV moto stopped suddenly in front of the fans and took Porte, then Mollema and Froome out.

The incident wiped out their advantage, leaving Porte fixing a mechanical and Froome running up the mountain on foot to clear the blockage as he called desperately for his team car or a team-mate to arrive.

Froome was given a neutral bike by the Mavic car, but was unhappy with the gears as Quintana, Valverde and co pressed on seemingly unable to believe their fortune.

Eventually the Team Sky car found the race leader, and gave him his own spare bike but by the time he finished his rivals had all passed him.

However, race commissaires opted to give Porte and Froome the same time as Mollema, who remounted after the crash, leaving the Team Sky man in yellow.

Tour de France 2016: stage 12 – result

1) Thomas de Gendt (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal – 4.31.51hrs
2) Serge Pauwels (BEL) – Dimension Data +2”
3) Daniel Navarro (ESP) – Cofidis +14”
4) Stef Clement (NED) – IAM Cycling +40”
5) Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) – Direct Energie – ST
6) Bert-Jan Lindmean (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo +2.52
7) Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI) – Dimension Data +3.13
8) Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) – LottoNL-Jumbo +3.26
9) Chris Anke Sorensen (DEN) – Fortuneo-Vital Concept +4.23
10) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +5.05

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 57.11.33hrs
2) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +47″
3) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +56″
4) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +1.01
5) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +1.15
6) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +1.39
7) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +1.44
8) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +1.54
9) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +1.56
10) Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) – Katusha +2.11

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