De Gendt wins stage, crowd causes disaster for Froome
Jul 14 2016 05:03 pm CET

De Gendt wins stage, crowd causes disaster for Froome
De Gendt wins stage, crowd causes disaster for Froome

Thomas De Gendt of Lotto-Soudal has won the 12th stage of the Tour de France. Chris Froome lost significant time after being held up by the crowd following an attack.

The finish of the mythical climb up the Mont Ventoux was relocated to a point six kilometers below the actual peak, as result of the heavy wind.

Nevertheless, the heaviest part of the mountain was actually located before the new finish line. As such, the riders did not get much of a break compared to the original route.

While most of the excitement was expected to take place on the final climb, plenty of action happened in the long ride leading up to it.

A breakaway of 13 riders got away from the peloton early on, including Andre Greipel, Thomas De Gendt, Sylvain Chavanel and Bryan Coquard.

The gap initially grew to more than 18 minutes but then slowly decreased as crosswinds began to trouble those in front. In the mean time, Thibaut Pinot again struggled to keep up with the peloton and soon found himself in a trailing group with Peter Sagan.

There was a moment of panic at 32 kilometers from the finish as Orica's Simon Gerrans crashed while riding at the front of the pack. Several Sky riders went down with him although Froome himself managed to avoid the wreckage.

The peloton slowed down, to the dismay of some, to allow the Sky riders to find their way back to the bunch.

As the front group arrived to the final climb, De Gendt of Lotto-Soudal increased the pace and only Lindeman, Navarro and Pauwels managed to keep up. Not much later, Pauwels and Navarro attacked to leave their fellow escapees behind.

Alejandro Valverde attacked from the peloton shortly after reaching the start of the climb. The Spaniard was soon caught but the moment allowed Nairo Quintana to launch his own attack seconds later. The Sky train reacted appropriately though and soon bridged the small gap created by the Colombian.

Up front, De Gendt found his way back to the leading duo and continued to fight for the day's victory.

Sky continued to set the pace in the group of favorites with Wout Poels' efforts causing one rider after the other to implode.

Once Froome's teammates had run out of energy, the race leader himself decided to attack. Porte and Quintana hung on but the latter could only do so for several seconds before having to allow a gap.

In the fight for the victory, Pauwels, De Gendt and Navarro arrived to the finish line together. Sprinting for glory, De Gendt proved to have the better legs despite all his efforts earlier on the climb. Pauwels finished second and Daniel Navarro came in third.

Mollema, who had attacked shortly after Froome did, joined the Briton and Porte in an effort to climb further up the overall standings.

Disaster struck at a few kilometers from the finish. A motorbike was held up by the crowd on the mountain and Porte had no time to react and crashed into the bike followed by Mollema and Froome.

Froome ended up without a bike and began to ran up the mountain instead until finally being given a neutral bike. At this time though, his biggest rivals for the overall classification had already caught up.

Froome needed another bike change, as such losing even more time with just 400 meters to go. The Sky leader ended up crossing the line behind his rivals while shaking his head.

Mollema, whose bicycle was still in good shape after the crash, had already finished at this point.

In the general classification (pending any possible decision by the ASO), Adam Yates takes the Yellow Jersey with a nine-seconds lead over Mollema and 14 seconds ahead of Quintana.
Photo of Thomas De Gendt (cropped) by Lotto Soudal.





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