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Photography by Cor Vos, Jered & Ashley Gruber, BrakeThrough Media, Kristof Ramon
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) paced himself perfectly up Mont Ventoux to take an stage win on Bastille Day at Chalet-Reynard on Thursday, while behind, chaos ensued behind.
Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Chris Froome (Team Sky), and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) had distanced themselves from the rest of the GC contenders and were working together with less than 2km remaining in the stage. Porte was on the attack when a TV motorbike leading the trio came to a standstill due to the sheer number of fans lining the road.
The BMC rider plowed into the back of the motorbike, with Froome and Mollema also crashing. The Dutchman on Trek-Segafredo stood up and got going again, while Porte fixed his chain on his bike. Froome, who was hit by a second moto following behind, began running up Mount Ventoux, his bike destroyed.
ASO and the UCI race commissaires accounted for the bizarre incident, with Froome remaining in the maillot jaune. Froome and Porte were given the same time as Mollema on the stage. The two-time Tour champion leads Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) by 47 seconds with Mollema third, 56 seconds back. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) sits fourth, 1:01 behind.
“The Ventoux is full of surprises,” Froome said after receiving his maillot jaune. “In the last kilometer, a motorbike broke in front of us and made us crash. Another motorbike came from behind and broke my bike. That’s how I became a walker. I knew the car with my spare bike was five minutes behind. I’m very happy with the commissaires’ decision. It’s the correct one. Thanks to them and to the Tour de France organization.”
Read the full stage 12 race report, highlight video and results here.