The Tour de France produced another remarkable spectacle on Thursday, as the holder of the yellow jersey and two-time winner, Chris Froome, was left running up the famed Mont Ventoux after crashing off his bike shortly before the finish. Team Sky rider Froome looked to have made a decisive move to shake off main challenger Nairo Quintana, but saw his hopes of a third victory at the Tour suffer a major blow in bizarre circumstances.
Froome went flying off his bike after the man in a breakaway with him Richie Porte crashed into a motorbike carrying a camera, sending both he and Froome tumbling to the concrete. Through a tunnel of fans and motorbikes, Froome then desperately jogged up the mountain in an effort to preserve every crucial second as he waited for his team to come up to him with a fresh bike.
Froome got his hands on a neutral bike, but it proved ill-equipped and, as his general classification rivals sped past, he was forced to quickly ditch it. Eventually a suitable bike arrived, but not before significant damage had been done.
The Tour de France organizers had already shortened stage 12, with the threat of high winds at the top of the mountain. However, it had failed to preserve the safety of riders, with an absence of barriers costly amid a melee of people.
Thomas de Gendt won the stage, but the drama was further behind. Froome dropped from first to sixth in the general classification, with fellow Briton Adam Yates now taking over the "maillot jaune," with Bauke Mollema second and Quintana, who had been broken by Froome, now third, 14 seconds back of the leader. It remains to be seen whether the race organizers will revise those times taking into consideration the crash.