Chris Froome still remains in pole position to claim his third Tour de France victory, despite a chaotic stage that eventually saw his run part of the race without a bike. While the chaos initially saw Froome dethroned at the top of the leaderboard, race officials decided to act in the interests of fairness, promoting Froome back to the head of the field.
There had already been excitement prior to the day, as organisers were forced to shorten the stage due to incredibly strong winds near the stage’s finale. This took something of a shine away from the iconic stage, which saw the riders tackling the intimidating Mont Ventoux. The news was not good for Froome, who is known as one of the best climbers in the world, and who would have been confident of extending his lead considerably.
As is often the case at the Tour de France, much of the action took place in the closing stages, although it doesn’t usually happen as it did yesterday. As Froome, accompanied by Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema, climbed towards the end of the stage, Porte crashed into a motorbike, which had been forced to stop abruptly due to excessive numbers of spectators on the course. This damaged Froome’s bike, and forced him to run until a bike was provided for him.
Due to the delays, Froome initially thought that he had been knocked off the top of the standings by Adam Yates, who is also the wearer of the white jersey. Most riders and pundits agreed though that this simply wasn’t fair, and Froome had his time improved to the same time as Mollema, who managed to continue after the crash.
The result means that Froome now has a 47 second cushion over Adam Yates, who remains in second place overall. Perhaps more importantly, he has a 54 second advantage over Nairo Quintana, who is seen as his main challenger for the title.
The stage was won by the Belgian rider Thomas de Gendt, who rides for the Lotto Soudal team. He is also the wearer of the polka dot jersey. Peter Sagan retains the green jersey, which is awarded to the rider with the best points total.
Tomorrow is another pivotal day for Chris Froome, as it sees a 37km time trial from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne du Point-D’Arc. Froome will be confident of preserving his lead over Quintana once the race has been run, although he is unlikely to win the stage outright, with many tipping Tejay van Garderen to take that honour.