The stage descends into madness
Personally, I’ve never seen anything like it in the Tour de France. The yellow jersey holder running up a mountain without his bike after crashing into the back of a camera motorbike with two other riders.
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Chris Froome‘s lead in the yellow jersey was obliterated by a motorbike stopping in the middle of the road because of the sheer number of spectators on the climb; Richie Porte (BMC) hit the back of it and Froome broke his bike in the collision.
The sight of Froome running bikeless up the road would have been funny, if the situation hadn’t been so desperate for him. Moral dilemmas arose about whether the group should wait for him or at least not attack his misfortune, while some tweets suggested that the Team Sky man should be disqualified for dumping his bike and setting off on foot.
Quintana finally attacks, but Froome was by far the strongest rider
It was the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Quintana finally attacked Froome, but he only crossed the line ahead of him by default.
Before the chaos erupted, Movistar sent Alejandro Valverde out the front as a satellite rider, but his position on the GC meant that Team Sky had to chase him down. Once he was back, Quintana had his own effort up the road and opened up a small lead on the peloton.
But Wout Poels and Mikel Landa put in huge shifts on the front of the chase group to bring Quintana back. Quintana tried again, but once more Team Sky were too strong to let him just ride off.
Shortly after his second attempt failed, Quintana shook his head, possibly indicating that he had no more to give in the attempts to drop Froome, and the Sky man went on an attack himself.
Quintana initially matched the attack, with Porte but soon dropped back to the peloton.
After the crash, Quintana actually finished ahead of Froome and the Brit was provisionally bumped down the overall standings to fifth. But the jury gave a reprieve to the Sky rider and his lead moved to over a minute on the Colombian in the revised standings.
Watch: Tour de France 2016 stage 12 highlights
Yates is still hanging in there
Adam Yates enjoyed about 30 minutes leading the Tour de France for the first time in his fledgling career, but then it was taken away.
To be fair, the young rider from the north-west of England probably wouldn’t have wanted to take the race lead in such ridiculous circumstances, but sitting second overall after more than half of the race is a phenomenal achievement.
The fact that he sits above the likes of Quintana, Valverde, Bardet and van Garderen is incredibly impressive, given that he wasn’t coming here to challenge for the GC.
The time trial will almost certainly see him drop down the classification a little bit, but he’ll still be in the thick of it heading towards the second rest day.
Bauke Mollema is the biggest loser here
While Yates had the yellow jersey in his grasp, Mollema made great inroads into the general classification by skirting round the crash and carrying on his merry way.
The Dutchman initially made up over 20 seconds on the likes of Quintana, as Froome jogged up the road behind him, but Porte and Froome were eventually given the same time as him.
For a man who’s constantly trying to justify his place as Trek’s Tour de France leader, and who will have to deal with the likely addition of Alberto Contador to the team next year, this kind of boost could have been what he needed.
Another year, another non-French winner on Bastille Day
The French aren’t having much joy on their national day in recent years, with the last Bastille Day winner from the home nation back in 2005 when David Moncoutié was victorious.
Before the stage we were wondering whether Thibaut Pinot would give it a shot in order to boost his lead in the mountains classification, but when the breakaway got out to 18 minutes it looked less likely that one of the big names would do it.
Maybe if Bastille Day fell later in the race then we’d get a French breakaway winner, but for now the wait must go on.