Sky and Trek ready to move on after Ventoux incident as Tour transitions to next phase

Both teams are looking ahead to the Alps and are trying to move on from the drama on Mont Ventoux

(Image credit: Watson)

As the Tour de France hits a transition stage on Saturday en route to a crucial third week in the Alps, those involved in the chaotic scenes on Mont Ventoux on stage 12 are focused on just moving on.

For fans and media alike, it’s hard to forget what happened that day; the image of the yellow jersey, Chris Froome, forced to run up the slopes of one of cycling’s most iconic climbs in a bid to save as much time as he could after getting caught up in a crash with a motorcycle.

In Team Sky’s terms, moving on comes in the form of just not talking about it. Froome took one question from the press in his post-race conference after Friday’s time trial, in which he nobly took the opportunity to pay respects to the victims of the Nice attacks.

“Of course we discussed it last night.” Team Sky DS Servais Knaven said during Friday’s time trial.

“We obviously just said we’re going to focus on the time trial and we’re not going to discuss what happened yesterday and we have to stay focused on what’s happening [next].

“We can’t afford to make any mistakes so we have to be really on it and that’s the most important thing.”

And on it they were. Even if Froome hadn’t been given the same time as Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) on the line on Ventoux by the commissaries, he’d now be back in the lead of this Tour after a blistering performance on the 37.5km time trial that saw him finish second to Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

But for others, what happened on Thursday clearly didn’t sit quite so comfortably in the immediate aftermath.

Trek’s Mollema for instance, who was also brought down in the same crash as Froome but didn’t break his bike, was set to gain time had the result have stood.

He later questioned on Twitter whether the same rule would have been applied if he was the only rider brought down in the crash, and despite an unhappy acceptance of what happened that day, Trek-Segafredo too are looking forward to a week which could see the Dutchman take his first Grand Tour podium if he maintains his form.

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“Bauke was unhappy and nervous after the stage,” said Trek-Segafredo team manager Luca Guercilena. “That’s how it is, we have to accept the decision of the commissaires and now we need to focus on the next stages and not spend too much energy being nervous.

“We had some talks and clearly it’s up to us as a team to talk with the commissaries and the organisation. He as a rider he clearly just needs to rest and recover. He told us his opinion, and it was the same as most of ours, we present our ideas to the commissaries but then we are sent the decisions.

“But now we’ll be looking to the Alps and the next stages.”

Crowd control, or lack of it, was put down by many as the reason for the motorbike stopping so suddenly in front of Richie Porte (BMC Racing), who did not hold back in his post race comments.

But both members from the Sky and Trek camps understood the difficulty the organisers had after being forced to bring the day’s finish down to Chalet Reynard, 6km from the top of Ventoux due to strong winds. There were thousands camped up there waiting for the race to come, and packed into a much smaller area than normal.

“It was a specific day with special changes, the race was cut off by 6km,” added Guercilena. “There were a lot of crowds coming down and winds, it was a complicated decision. Clearly it’s difficult to make a decision that makes everybody happy, but there are things that we should try to avoid.”

Recap: Highlights from stage 12 of the 2016 Tour de France

Likewise, Froome’s super-domestique Wout Poels, who led up the climb before Froome attacked, said there was an understanding, but that safety and crowd behaviour was not something that the riders should need to be thinking about.

“I think the problem was that the climb is normally 7km longer, so we have 7k more space for people and all the people were there so they were closer to each other,” Poels said.

“So I think if you do the last 4k with all these fans and two police bikes in front to make the space and then the camera bike behind that, I think that would already be better.

“But I think that’s more a concern for the organisation to make it safer for us. Instead we have to think about that, when we already have to train and whatever.”

The race rolls on. A 208.5km slog northward past Lyon lies in wait for the riders on Saturday, with one eye on the Alps. Everyone will be hoping that there won’t be any more running when the race reaches there.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).