Team Sky’s Chris Froome took an unusual step to ride to the bus of rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) after a crash in the finish of Tour de France stage six today and climbed on to talk. The two were tangled up in a crash which saw race leader Tony Martin fall during the finish of stage six to Le Havre.
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Froome rode to the Astana turquoise bus, asked the helper outside to hold his bike and went in to speak with Nibali, who arrived moments beforehand. After two minutes he came out and said, “ah nothing” when asked by Cycling Weekly what happened.
Martin has broken his collarbone and could abandon due to the crash. Nibali suffered scrapes and Froome appeared to stay upright. After showering, the Italian champion and 2014 Tour winner spoke to the press.
“It seemed that Froome sent me down. I was very upset with him, but then, watching the video, he also came on the bus, and I said sorry to him. That’s the way it went, though,” Nibali said outside Astana’s surrounded by press.
“I gave my apologies, it seemed more that it was Tony Martin, I moved right, I found Froome, thought it was his fault.
“Did we clear it all up? Yeah! We are not footballers, we are cyclists!”
Froome later wrote on Twitter, “There was some confusion as to who caused the crash, wanted to clear that up with @AstanaTeam @vincenzonibali (definitely wasn’t me!).”
Buses are cyclists’ sanctuaries and rarely do riders enter those of their rivals. Froome rode over the line, by his black Sky bus and straight to Nibali’s bus 200 metres further.
“What did I think of him on my bus? He was super upset,” Nibali added.
“He didn’t want to fall down. Clearly, when you fall, you always suffer damage. I was very upset, but we clarified it. Better that way. You know, in the heat of the race it’s like that, but when you clarify it, it’s better.”
Nibali had blood on his side and ripped shorts. Overall favourite Nairo Quintana (Movistar) also crashed and scraped his hand.
“I’m fine, I just had a blow to by shoulder, leg, and part of my back. When you crash on the ground it always bothers you,” Nibali added.
“It’s a difficult Tour, there are always many crashes. All the teams want to stay up front, so it’s hard to stay in position, but to crash like that, 500 metres from the line, on a climb, I didn’t understand the reason for this.”
After the stage Froome talked TeamSky.com through the late crash and admitted he was happy to come through a difficult moment unscathed.
He confirmed: “I took a knock on my knee bone and there was a little bit of blood there, but nothing more than that, I’m absolutely fine. I had to wait on the roadside as my rear wheel was buckled and I couldn’t ride on.
“Until the finish today’s stage was definitely the most straightforward we’ve had so far. We had good weather, no crazy winds, and the pace of the racing was a little more relaxed. For me, it was about staying out of trouble and the guys did a good job in keeping me towards the front of the bunch.
“As I’ve said before, I’m really happy with how things have gone up to this point and couldn’t have asked for any better. Hopefully we can keep that.”