Geraint Thomas says that Team Sky teammate showed that he was stronger than many of his rivals on the slopes of Mont Ventoux on stage 12 of the Tour de France, before he was taken down in an incident with a motorbike along with Richie Porte (BMC) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).
Speaking shortly after the stage finish, Thomas said he hadn’t been able to see the incident after being dropped from the main bunch, but suggested it would be ‘unfair’ if the race jury had not awarded Froome the same time as Mollema on the line, after the Briton finished over a minute behind with his bike breaking in the crash.
Crowds have been said to have played part in the incident, with the lower slopes of Ventoux packed after the finish had been moved 6km from the summit to Chalet Reynard due to high winds.
“It [the crowds] obviously was a problem today for Froomey. I didn’t see it [the incident] I just saw something on the TV for like 10 seconds when I got on the bus.
“You know it’s not ideal, I think Froomey was on a decent day. From my point of view, the crowd was getting too close and stuff, but I didn’t see what was happening up front.”
“[The crowds have] been normal, the same as usual. You know there’s the odd person getting too close but that’s normal, but what happened today that’s unprecedented really.”
Two-time Tour winner and current race leader Froome was also forced into running up the climb after his bike broke, with his team car some way back down the slopes. That meant he had to take an ill-fitting bike from a Mavic neutral service car to ride for some of the climb, before finally receiving a spare bike.
“Well he’s from Kenya, so he should be good at the running,” Thomas joked.
“It’s crazy really you don’t expect that at all.
“It’s a massive shame because obviously he was feeling good and gaining time on Nairo Quintana. The fact that he was gaining time with Richie and Mollema shows that he’s got good legs.”
Froome will now look to make more gains in the time trial on Friday’s stage 13, with a difficult 37.5km course from Bourg-Saint-Andéol to La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc.