Why didn’t the Mavic neutral service car help Geraint Thomas on Tour de France stage 15?

The Welshman says he doesn’t know why they didn't help him

When you’re out helping your team leader before the final climb of a big mountain stage of the Tour de France, the most frustrating thing is almost certainly to have something go wrong with your bike.

And that’s what happened to Geraint Thomas today, as he appeared to get dropped from the main bunch where he was helping Chris Froome, with some reports saying that he’d crashed.

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However the Welshman confirmed after the stage that he had suffered an ill-timed mechanical, but that was made worse by not being helped back to the bunch by the Mavic neutral service car.

Despite receiving a wheel, Geraint Thomas wasn’t able to use the draft of the car to get paced back to the bunch, and the race commissaire had already stopped team cars from being able to overtake dropped riders behind.

It’s not allowed within the rules to use the draft of the car to your advantage, but Thomas says it’s something that happens in every race and he was left frustrated after not being able to further help his team on the stage.

“I didn’t crash I just had a mechanical with my back wheel,” Thomas explained.

“I had a mechanical and had to stop and change the back wheel and the Mavic neutral service, they just didn’t help me back.

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“Usually you can get behind the car for a bit and get you back up to speed and get you back into the group.

“Any other race that would happen, but the commissaire stopped the other cars getting past and I just couldn’t get back.”

The result means Thomas slips down to 17th in GC from his 15th position he had at the stage, and lost around six minutes on the stage after being left on his own with the Lacets du Grand Colombier climb still to go. He said he couldn’t explain why the car didn’t help him.

“No idea, maybe they don’t like me! It was frustrating, but there you go.”

Despite Thomas’s mishap, race leader Froome was able to hold his advantage after the stage with very few attacks from his key rivals.