Chris Froome went to confront Vincenzo Nibali after the finish of stage 19 of the Tour de France with the Brit angry over the Italian's attack on the Croix de Fer

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won the Tour de France’s summit finish stage to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles on Friday, but it came with controversy. Team Sky’s Chris Froome, the race leader, called the Italian’s attack atop the Col de la Croix de Fer “unsportsmanlike” as the Brit suffered a problem with his bike.

2014 Tour winner Nibali attacked with 59km to race onn the 19th stage, just as Froome had a mechanical problem with his bike and put his foot down on the tarmac.

“I’m pretty sure he looked around, saw I was in trouble and attacked,” Froome said. “And in my opinion you don’t do that to the race leader, it’s not sportsmanlike.”

>>> Chris Froome spat on as he climbs La Toussuire (video)

Nibali caught and passed Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and won the stage solo. Froome marked his overall rivals, controlling an attack by second place Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who he eventually lost 30 seconds to.

When Froome arrived at the finish, he went directly to see Nibali.

“I don’t deserve the words he said, they are too hard, and not right to say,” Nibali said.

“He was very upset with me and I don’t understand his problem. But when the race is going on, there are problems, like when Alberto Contador crashed the other day. It was only 3km later we knew [about the mechanical]. Also, today, I didn’t hear any info on race radio. I just kept moving and going for the win.”

Vincenzo Nibali wins stage nineteen of the 2015 Tour de France

Chris Froome rolls home on stage nineteen of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Froome stopped only for a few seconds. When the TV camera moved from him to the favourites group that he was in, Nibali was attacking.

“I just suddenly felt as if my back wheel locked up,” Froome added. “A bit of tar or a small stone had locked itself between my brake calipers and my back wheel so I had to stop, take the wheel backwards just to get the stone out. Unfortunately, that was the moment Nibali decided to make his move.”

Astana’s general manager, Alexandre Vinokourov said that they did not radio to Nibali to attack in that moment.

It was not the first incident between the two cyclists. In the stage to Le Havre in the first week, Nibali blamed a crash in the final kilometre on Froome. Afterwards, Froome rode to the Astana bus and went in to speak with Nibali.

Nibali, hoped to defend his title and win this year, but suffered in the first week. His stage win today saved his Tour and with 1-14 over Froome, moved him to fourth overall at 6-44 back.

“Not all the years are the same. Last year, I was ready to go in the first week, I was a lot stronger than in this year,” Nibali said.

“We are not machines, we are humans. You can have your good years and your bad years. Look at Alberto Contador, he won the Giro, and then is having a hard time here in the Tour.”

 

  • RobTM

    You’re right about it looking bad. If Froome had needed a bike change, Valverde & Quintana had gone off after Nibali without waiting up, there would have been a huge media storm; Froome could easily have lost 2 minutes having to ride alone against 4 or 5 and it might have been the significant turning point in whole race.
    Wiggin’s was right to neutralise the race to allow Evan’s back in 2012, after the tack throwing, and avoided diminished reputations.

  • RobTM

    Earlier in the race, Nibali blamed Froome for the crash on Stage 6, and seemed to throw a water bottle at Froome with some cameras there (was shown on TV highlights show), resulting in this denial “No. No. I think that I threw it down on the ground because I was upset,”; that lead to Froome visiting the Astana bus. Riders in past have been DQ-ed for similar bottle throwing and mechanic fined this year using a bottle to protest against proximty of camera bike.
    Nibali saw Froome’s issue for sure (why else was he suddenly double peering back after moving to front) and his decision could have affected the GC top place battle. I think Froome’s mechanical stop meant Quintana, Contador & Valverde were more likely to let Nibali go, hesitating knowing riding with him to take yellow would have unleashed a media storm.
    Nibali won the stage ugly and it’s HIM not Froome whining afterwards to the press about harsh words; if he hadn’t given them the quotes, the TV highlights would not have shown Nibali to be a liar.
    Froome’s got a right to have words with Nibali about it, just as Nibali has right to act like an idiot; if he’d been honest saying it was a good moment for him to attack again without being immediately marked (For me, Froome chased Nibali over keenly, perhaps even as punishment for the previous incident; but Nibali lying about his view of incident should show you, he knows it was unsportsman like and wrong)

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    Cortico-steroids are ????

  • Haardly

    “classics riders suddenly pulling in the mountains”? Porte (Climber), Poels (Climber), Thomas (admittedly can do anything he sets his mind to but has gradually improved in the mountains over the past 5 years).

    “They don’t quit when they fall down and cut their shorts”? Presume you mean the 2014 Tour De France where Froome suffered a broken left wrist and broken right hand. You wouldn’t think that that might be some kind of impediment to completing two and a half weeks of a grand tour including cobbles and descents of alps etc. Think I would struggle just to wipe my own ar$e…

  • Jane-marie MacNeil

    Whether you agree with Froome or not it is not acceptable to spit or throw urine at anybody, people like who they like , I can’t stand nibali, I think he is a little whiner,I wouldn’t wait at the side of a road to throw a cup of my bodily fluid at him! people accuse Froome of doping with NO proof or evidence, people in the sport who themselves have been found guilty of cheating are quick to mutter doping accusations, maybe because they know they had to cheat to achieve in their sport they don’t the thought that a fellow cyclist can achieve the same and more clean. I like Froome, yes maybe he should of kept the disagreement private, after all he was never a threat to his lead but people saying “no wonder he’s spat at” like its justified? Disgraceful.

  • Baklava

    But they did not attack – keeping pace is perfectly acceptable.

  • Baklava

    Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men (quote from someone much better than me). I’ll not capitalise it but I’m hoping you can work out where Nibali’s unethical behaviour comes here.

  • Gary

    Aahh, I see, how silly of me. It’s alright to break written rules but not unwritten ones, I will have to try that at work. tried it once with a policeman, he didn’t see the funny side to it, “sorry officer I didn’t think that 40mph sign actually meant that I had to dive at 40mph, I thought it meant I could do 80”.

  • Frank O

    Froome looked weak the last few days. Will win tour only because he had a big lead early. Didn’t ride like a champion and he isn’t liked. Gave us a very boring tour because all he does is ride behind his roided up domestics. He’s got classics riders suddenly pulling in the mountains. Wait….Postal used to do that to…makes you wonder. Now add whiner to his credentials. Nibali wasn’t a threat to him. Plain and simple. No wonder he’s spit at.

    Tell Froome that great champions finish tours. They don’t quit when they fall down and cut their shorts….so they can run to Spain for another try at the Vuelta. If he wants the yellow jersey to be honored, then be an honorable person. He isn’t.

  • Jacki Gansch

    Chris Froome plays by the ethics and unwritten rules of sportsmanship. I even believe he called for a natural break in the Peloton in order to give Tejay VanGarderen a chance to catch up, which he did but only for a very short time. Had Nibali waited just 30 or 40 seconds for Froome to get back on his bike, there would have been no controversy. It’s one of those things that was accepted by the riders as being a quid pro quo arrangement: I’ll give you the courtesy of waiting for you to rejoin the peloton, and you extend the same courtesy to me or any other rider when we need it. I like that Froome confronted Nibali rather than plotting a revenge.

  • Stevie

    Because this isn’t the Wacky Races, and there is more to life than just being the first to finish.

  • TB

    So what? He just went up to Nibali and shouted vitriol at his face and then turned around and talked more crap about him to the press for no reason then? And yes in case you can’t infer from what was said above, refraining from taking out a planned attack is waiting.

  • Michael Tolstrup

    Froome should stop his whining, this happens all the time in cycling.

  • MAKULNET

    AGREE, THOUGH UNETHICAL, FROOME DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO THROW WORDS TO NIBALLI,
    NIBALI ATTACK LEGALLY!!!

  • Gary Jogela

    I wish that i was a wuss and could glide up mountains on a bike just like Froome

  • skelto99

    Nibali must have really recovered well recently, he didn’t even look out of
    breath when he crossed the line. Sheer class.

  • Anderx_man

    That’s nonsense. Valverde at the stage’s start has more than 3 minutes on Nibali, he doesn’t need to fill the gap. The “Others” don’t come out to follow Nibali, but to take an advantage on Froome.

  • Mattyb

    At the end of the day this is a race its a sport the first to the finish why should anyone wait for the race leader doh that’s who everyone is trying to beat!!! If that is the case of waiting for the leader then they may as well just have one stage and declare him the winner instead of dragging the race out for three weeks because its pointless, I’m a cyclist myself

  • Ben Jamin’

    He didn’t ask for anyone to wait.

    Shocking how people can’t see that.

  • Ben Jamin’

    Odd how people can’t see the difference between waiting and attacking.

  • carpog

    Even if Nibali did breach the etiquette, Froome should have kept his anger private and not gone bleating to the press. He’s just dragged himself down to the level of Nibali who once whinged in public about the way Wiggo was looking at him.

  • Jimmy_Tan

    Agree with Froome. Nibali knew exactly what the situation was and cowardly took advantage of it. Very unsportsmanlike conduct.

  • Johnson William

    I also want to make a comment – Contador always changes bikes in a stage, a lighter one for the climbs – that is cheating to me

  • Johnson William

    This is the rule, winning is everything these days and it seems. I did not see anybody wait up when a GCC contender has a fall. This is also not the first attack when a GCC contender has a mechanical. Sky will have to do them same should it happen to Nibali – simple.

  • JB730000

    Didn’t see Froome waiting for Contador on stage 17, didn’t see Froome waiting for Nibali and Quintana on stage 2. Really don’t know what he is complaining about – seems like an absolute wanker.

  • DCdudez

    Froome is such a pussaaay

  • eddy

    Professional sport is about taking advantage of the weakness of your competitors. Froome had a weakness, his bike. Not attacking the yellow jersey??? Isn’t that the whole piont!! Might as well stop after the first stage

  • blemcooper

    Taking a gel from his teammate wasn’t cheating per se, but it was a violation of *actual*, written rules (as opposed to the unwritten etiquette Froome is up in arms about) in that instance because they had reached a no-feeding part of the race. They were caught, duly judged as having violated the rules and were penalized, perhaps not enough since had he not taken the illegal feed, he may well have lost minutes due to bonking.

  • SaganFan

    So Froomey has a go at Nibs which (thankfully) gives us a break from talking about (ugh) power data. Today’s incident is the sort of TdF stuff that breathes life and soul into the grand old race. Adds a bit more spice to tomorrow’s big stage too. I’m already getting a bit sad that it’s almost done. Where does the time go, friends?

  • Simon ‘Sprout’ Phillips

    Croome, Sky have been in control.of the race. The comments dont strike me of those of as a man in control.

    Its a race at the end of the day.

    Froome would have attacked Quintana and put time into him if he could i am sure. Dont hide behind an unwritten rule

  • Julian Dean

    Nibali is now “The Snake of Messina” not the shark.

  • Vale

    The unwritten rule you don’t attack the yellow jersey holder, contador wasn’t in yellow…..

  • Sam Hocking

    If Quintana’s bars had caught a fans bag strap at that moment in the race and he had to stop for a few seconds to untangle it and Froome attacked, its the same thing. It’s simply showing lack of class and respect. Contador Schleck was different, the battle was already on, it’s more like Ullrich & Armstrong really when Ullrich waited.

  • Gary

    What do they say..”treat people the way you want to be treated”. Froome wonders why he is disliked, but time and time again he shows that he has no moral value.
    After all this is the rider that became publically known for attacking the race leader whilst he was serving as his domestique, Openly wrote in his biography that he fraudulently accessed a Kenyan officials computer to sign himself up for a race, and who has never waited for a close competitor to recover from an incident. Is it any wonder that people have little respect for him. And don’t get me started on him cheating last year by taking a gel from another rider, I didn’t recall any other riders doing likewise.

  • blemcooper

    Because Nibali’s attack draws out Valverde, et al. who’s a little more of a threat.

    I’m not saying Froome has any right to complain, but that’s the explanation he (or his team) stated.

  • blemcooper

    Is it really the same mentality? In motorsport, they do that on loop/lap courses so there is time to clear the track for course safety and medical reasons, not for an unwritten rule about not taking advantage of a rival’s misfortune on a one-way road course bike race.

  • Sam Hocking

    This wasn’t a mechanical, no mechanic was required. It’s no different than say if Quintana had clipped his bars in a spectator in that group and had to stop for a few seconds to straighten them up and Froome attacked out of that group. It’s just not the done thing.

  • Brendan Power

    You’re right, it’s not obligatory, it is an unwritten ethic. That means Nibali acted unethically or, as Froome said, unsportsmanlike.

  • eddy

    Did Froome wait for Contador after his fall in the last decent yesterday????

  • ThePollitikat

    Lol

  • ThePollitikat

    This is nonsense when Nibali was caught by a crash on stage 2 they went on without him…and he had to suck it up..losing 2+mins….he was defending champ and they left him…he waited for froome when he crashed twice last year but the same courtesy was not afforded to him and he didnt crash…but was caught behind a crash…no fault of his own. Froome needs to stop being a wuss…but of course despite what he or the time gap says I get the feeling he sees Nibali as his biggest threat.

  • barry davies

    Was nice to see Mr Froome slow down when Mr Bardet had a mechanical and had to wait for the Sky led group to catch him and wait while he changed his bike – and he did the same when Mr Contador changed his bike at the bottom of the climb – a real British sportsman !!!

  • Adam O

    When someone has a mechanical accident in motorsports there is a pacer to slow the group down. The same mentality is true in cycling. Sure it isn’t obligatory, but taking advantage helps no one. It looks bad for your sposers and your reputation.. It’s about the riders racing to their best, this isn’t mario kart.

  • Adam O

    This irks me. Astana did the exact same thing when Contador got a mechanical on the descent before the mortirola. And Nibali took a heavy amount of boosts while handing off with the general manager. Not to mention their many controversies with the uci. Astana just feels like a villain to me whenever I watch cycling.

  • Kevino Daviessss

    All riders are not competing level anyway due to drugs, so why should a stone in brakes stop them racing, forget etiquette its a bike race and in this instance Nibali cannot be blamed, should Froome shout, problem with my legs when he’s tired, and they all stop in a cafe like the rest of us on a long ride!!

    Get real, it’s a bike race, a spectator didn’t take him down! It’s a race,

  • Simon ‘Sprout’ Phillips

    Not the best spirit the attack but not sure why Froome is that mad. Nibali isnt a threat on GC. Just suck it up. I say that as a Sky fan

  • Steve Badger

    Yep,a tainted victory,…This will be ok for a tainted team,…

  • Vale

    Fair comment.
    Shame nibali claimed he didn’t see Froome in trouble when quite clearly he did.

  • blemcooper

    Not at all the same if it’s as Froome claimed that a rock kicked up from the road and got stuck between his brake and the rim. With Schleck, he was attempting to attack up hill while in a small-small gear combo and his chain jammed and Contador went (whether as his own attack or just continue the pace Schleck had been going until his chain jammed).

    What happened to Froome’s bike as described was bad luck. What happened to Schleck’s bike was a boneheaded amateur mistake. As another TdF racer said of Schleck in 2010, if you draw your sword to attack and drop it, you can’t expect your opponent to wait for you to pick it up.

    As for whether it was unsportsmanlike for Nibali to attack when he saw Froome vulnerable, it’s no worse than Froome having the remains of his team blocking things at the front to slow things down so the rest of his dropped team could catch back up in the valley between climbs.

  • Vale

    True but it’s not in the best spirit of the event. Similar thing happened with contador and schleck a few years ago.

  • poisonjunction

    You are obviously new to Sport.

  • Ambientereal

    Well, in this matter I don´t agree with Froome. Nibali has the right to attack whenever he wants. May be there is an unwritten ethic, but it is not obligatory.