Dave Brailsford says that the right decision was made to give Chris Froome (Team Sky) the same time as Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) on the line after a chaotic finish to stage 12 of the Tour de France, which saw race leader Froome forced to run with his bike after he, Richie Porte (BMC) and Mollema were taken down by a camera motorbike.
Froome had been part of a three-man break from the main peloton on the slopes of the final 10km climb, having been joined by Porte and Mollema. But things quickly took a turn for the worst after a TV camera motorbike was brought down in front of them with Porte unable to stop himself catapulting into the rear of it.
Mollema and Froome both came down in the incident, with the British rider breaking the frame of his bike so it was unusable, and took to running up the hill while he waited for a replacement.
There was confusion after the stage finish though, with no-one quite sure what would happen to Froome, after he lost over a minute to second place Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange, which would have seen him lose the overall lead.
With the provisional standings suggesting that would be the case, the race jury eventually decided to award Froome and Porte the same time as Mollema, who had crossed the line just ahead of Yates after recovering quickly from the crash.
And Brailsford says this was the just call by those in charge, and that it was a time to remain calm in bizarre circumstances.
“Sometimes exceptional things happen and sometimes it’s a chance to get all agitated and angry and sometimes its better to be calm and just let the dust settle,” Brailsford told the media, “it wasn’t intentional, it was an exceptional circumstance.
“I don’t think any of us have seen that before and I think everyone would agree that Richie, Bauke and Chris were the strongest riders there today.
“We’re used to the 3k rule in cycling and I think it was the right thing to do to give him the time and he got the same time as Bauke when he finished.
“Nobody saw that one coming but its just one of those things isn’t it? You’re trying to win the yellow jersey and you’ve got to go through thick and thin I guess.”
The Team Sky boss explained that the team weren’t required to spell out there case to the race jury to adjust Froome’s time, and added that he understood the logistical difficulties for the organisers on the stage after the stage finish was adjusted to Chalet Reynard, mid-way up the climb of Mont Ventoux, with extremely strong winds battering the summit of the climb.
“No [we didn’t have to argue our case], fair play to the ASO and the UCI because the commissaries and everyone knew straight away that it was an exceptional circumstance and fair play should rule the day as it were,” Brailsford said.
“Nobody’s done anything intentionally there that’s for sure and you know the finish has been changed, the weather’s played a part and its massive event logistically for ASO.
“We understand how challenging it is and we’ll take the opportunity for a moment of a bit of calm and a bit of maturity and everybody just calm down.
“I think he’s [Froome] glad that common sense prevailed and he’s focussed on tomorrows time trial.”