Viewers fear the worst after Welshman collides with a telegraph pole during high-speed descent

The Tour de France looked anything but funny today when Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas flew off the side of the road at high speed during the descent of the Col de Manse. Amazingly, he climbed back up the ditch with the help of a fan, raced to the finish line in Gap – and somehow kept his sense of humour.

“I feel all right for now,” Thomas explained at the finish line. “I guess my doctor will ask me my name soon. I’ll say: Chris Froome.”

The Welshman finished the Tour with a broken hip in 2013, so maybe nobody should be surprised he collected himself, changed bikes and raced to save his sixth place overall behind leader and Sky team-mate Froome.

>>> The action-packed history of the Col de Manse

At the time, however, the incident appeared considerably more serious. Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) lost control and collided with Thomas, who went off the left of the road and hit the left side of his face against a lamppost.

By then, those following the front of the race had already seen Spaniard Rubén Plaza (Lampre-Merida) win the stage. The television coverage of the race behind stayed with Froome’s classification group, while viewers wondered if Thomas could possibly emerge unscathed. Then we saw him riding side by side with Wout Poels in the final kilometre, and the worst fears were unfounded.

Ruben Plaza wins stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Ruben Plaza wins stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

“It was bad in the fact that I lost time,” continued Thomas. “But it’s annoying — you make the effort to get over the climb and then… I don’t understand some guys just go down the hill in one line…

“I feel alright. I head butted the wooden pole thing. Luckily, there was a barrier, which stopped me falling. I was all tangled up in the bushes and wire. Some guy pulled me up and I was all right. Some French people like us!”

Thomas’s helmet showed the scrapes of the dangerous head collision, but his humour proved he was still the same cyclist who helped Froome win the 2013 Tour.

The incident came with around six kilometres left of the 201-kilometre stage. Barguil appeared to be at fault, but after the stage he said that he was “pushed” by American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) before the right-hander.

“I couldn’t brake any more,” Barguil said. “It went so fast. I was scared because I thought I wouldn’t make the turn.

“I apologise to Thomas — it wasn’t intentional.”

The Welshman will have time to recover during the Tour’s second rest day tomorrow. Afterwards, he has to protect Froome’s lead through the Alps and on to Paris. Sky has said that it would like to try to have him alongside Froome on the Champs-Élysées podium.

“It’s a big relief, really,” said Team Sky general manager David Brailsford as he followed Thomas back to the team bus.

“He’s finished the Tour de France with a fractured pelvis before, so I’m sure it’ll take more than a knock to his head to knock him out.

“He’s Welsh. People from Wales are tough.”

 

  • Stevie

    So local clubs don’t form a level of cycling’s infrastructure? Got it.

  • reece46

    ‘David Kinjah is a form of infrastructure’. Got it, thanks.

  • Stevie

    If its irrelevant why did you assume I was a British male who was pissed off about froome being classed as so?

    Can you even read? I didn’t say it was sad. I said sadly you are entitled to one meaning unfortunately.

    lastly you clearly do care otherwise you would be able to read a simple without the red mist descending and hampering your ability to understand the meaning of my post.

  • reece46

    Barguil’s also got a reputation as a wild man on downhill, fine so long as you don’t use someone else as a human air fence when you run out of skill.

  • Stevie

    David Kinjah was the form of infrastructure I was relating to, did I once mention the kenyan cycling federation? I was relating it to the local club and its members who without he wouldn’t be the rider he is today. Stop assuming what I meant and understanding it as you wish.

  • Jsmith

    G is one tough cookie and if there was a problem after the ditch dive Sky quite rightly would not share it with us. As long as he is able G will just carry on doing what he can for the team. He is a selfless rider. On a good note for him I see that his fiancée has found his glasses.

  • reece46

    ‘African cycling’s infrastructure got him to the point he is today’ Froome and David Kinjah would be delighted you give so much credit to the Kenyan cycling federation. You’re making yourself look more ridiculous the more your keyboard keeps going, stop now believe me.

  • portemat

    Barguil took a totally stupid line into the corner. He was way too tight for the speed he had. He was trying to take places by going past on the inside. There was no way he could ever have made it round the corner… it was only his collision with Thomas that kept him on the road.
    Of course this meant that Thomas went off instead of him.
    The comments about motorsport are right… If he were an F1 driver doing that he would have gotten a sanction (causing an avoidable incident).

  • Roger

    Your nationality is irrelevant an uninteresting. As is what you think about other people’s. You find it sad that I am entitled to an opinion? Well guess what: I couldn’t care less.

  • Lord Voldemort

    I don’t think you understand British humour mate.

  • Stevie

    Pardon? Just before we get started I also hold dual nationality with Belgium and Britain.

    I was born in Belgium, raised in Gent and now live in Manchester in the UK. does this make me British simply because my farther was? By calling himself British over Kenyan Chris Froome is in my opinion (guess what everyone is entitled to one, even you sadly) depriving further development of African cycling who’s infrastructure got him to where he is today.

  • eminusx

    I have no idea how old you are or where you’re from, but to insinuate that the ‘Island mentality’ as you put it persists in the UK is just completely wrong and quite frankly suggests you’re either two or three generations out of touch or don’t live in the UK and simply rely on the stereotypes you’ve been spooned by xenophobic dinosaurs.

    Have a look at some recent data on which nations are the most charitable when it comes to helping strangers, volunteering, supporting overseas charities. I see these statistics reflected in the people around me daily.

    For your convenience, on the ‘world giving index’, UK is joint 7th, France is 90th. This isn’t a slur on France as I love France and it’s people, half of my family being French, it is merely to prove you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • Phill Thomas

    What does throwing buckets of piss over the yellow jersey rider make you then…Or punching Ritchie port, or spitting on people. Jog on troll..

  • PaulSMG

    Yeah perfectly normal, like froome’s palmares. Maybe in the UK is perfectly normal, in France people don’t help others in trouble just if they like them, help everyone and what French expect in return is just “gratitude” (“thanks” will suffice) not a “funny” comment that is not funny.

    But, as I said, it could be an “island thing”, do you (British) help just people you like (I mean in an accident)? Is it difficult for you to say thanks (and you need to make childish comments)? A “congenital disability” makes all of you impolite?

  • Roger

    Why “not very nice one”? It was an accident, no?

  • Roger

    Yup. Those awful rebranded Africans. In fact anyone who was born outside the UK really. The dregs of humanity. Coming to our glorious island. Who do they think they are? And they even let them have UK passports. It’s an absolute disgrace. And that Froome bloke. Good-for-nothing criminal. The lowest of the low. Calling himself British, of all things. He should be ashamed of himself.

  • Stevie

    Maybe your English just isn’t that good? “Some French people like us” is a perfectly normal thing to say under the circumstances and does not in any way imply ingratitude or criticism of France or the French. I could explain why, but I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested and I’m not sure I could be bothered anyway. Your negative attitude and constant twisting of the facts to suit your miserable view of the world are rather sickening. I really don’t know why you follow the Tour or contribute here.

  • PaulSMG

    Really when? When he said that French fans help him because “some of them like us”? In France when you want to say thanks you don’t insult part of the fans, I don’t like sky team but it will not stop me to help one of its riders if he has an accident. Probably in Britain is different and you only help British or people “you like”… If that is the case and it is a cultural thing I could understand his comment.

    In fact it is really simple they helped him because he had an accident (as they would do for any other rider no matter if they like him or not and no matter which country he comes from) that’s the way things work… Everything else is just island mentality.

  • PaulSMG

    He said “one guy pulled me up and I was all right. Some French people like us!”

    Did he say “thank you”? No he did not.
    So 1st if someone helps you, you must say thank you. Period.

    2nd If you have an accident (at least in France) the people will help you no matter if they like you or not.

    3rd If you want to make jokes don’t do it about the nationality of the people that just helped you.

    4th he is not very intelligent because his team has not much support and he just missed an opportunity to improve it.

  • PaulSMG

    If you have the opportunity you could read the article (it summarises most of them) and if you still have doubts you could watch Eurosport.

  • eminusx

    THIS! He actually thanked the French chap who helped him and said they were nearly all like that in France, just one or two that spoil it.
    Not sure how that could be so easily misconstrued. Sounds like some people strive to spin every word into a torrid slur or accusation.

  • reece46

    Tells us ‘exactly’ what his words were as you heard them on TV please Paulsmg.

  • reece46

    True, any form of motorsport and that would’ve received a sanction. Lucky he wasn’t killed, head and lampost at that speed.

  • reece46

    As usual Paulsmg has got things exactly 180 degrees wrong. Listen to what he actually said or get someone who speaks English to translate it for you. He couldn’t have been more gracious and diplomatic to the fans.

  • John Senior

    Just to be clear – he did say some nice French men helped him up – it’s a pity a not very nice one helped him crash and then blamed TJ. Bottom line was no one in that string was going to gain by overtaking or lose by following a wheel – Glad he apologised but Barguil could have killed Thomas. No rider should put other riders at risk like that. Fine if you’re Sagan and leading the way down but otherwise not.
    Focus on fact he’s Ok and made a few jokes about it.

  • PaulSMG

    I am talking about what he said to the media and you know it, so if you can not explain what he said don’t make up excuses.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Barguil owes him more than an apology – he owes him respect.

  • Jsmith

    So you were in the ditch with G and that is how you know for a fact that he didn’t say thank you to the guy who helped him out. It is you that is not very bright. You prove it time and time again with your pathetic attempts at trolling.

  • Stevie

    Not really hes a bit too robotic and weird for my liking when hes confronted by the press. Much bigger fan of actual British talent not a re-branded Kenyan.

  • PaulSMG

    Froome has no sense of humour either?

  • Stevie

    bloody french no sense of humor.

  • PaulSMG

    Instead of thanking the fans who helped him he made ironic comments about French fans? These guys are not very bright.