Stage 12 of the Tour de France ended in chaos when Richie Porte was involved in a crash caused by a stationery motorbike and uncontrolled crowds in the final kilometer of the stage.
Porte, Chris Froome (Team SKY), and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) had attacked from the General Classification group and held a 23-second lead when the incident took place.
The crash caused Porte to require a wheel change which saw him finish more 45 seconds back on his General Classification rivals. Tejay van Garderen was also caught up behind the crash when the group was forced to slow behind the stationery motorbike.
Following the stage finish, the UCI jury awarded Porte and Froome the same time as Mollema (5’05” down on stage winner Thomas De Gendt).
The UCI’s decision sees Froome retain the Yellow Jersey and van Garderen and Porte move up to 7th and 11th place respectively.
Porte will be examined for any injuries by BMC Racing Team’s medical team and further updates on his condition will be provided when possible.
Thought on the UCI’s Post-Stage Decision
BMC Racing Team’s Richie Porte said “It’s the decision they had to take. It’s already out of control. I agree that you come to the race, you have a good time but you don’t need to be running beside the riders, you don’t need to hitting riders, pushing riders. Things have got to change and I can’t believe there weren’t barriers there. At the end of the day I’ve trained so hard for this and yeah okay now I get the same time as Mollema, but I also crashed and now I’m sore. Tomorrow’s a crucial stage as well and it remains to be seen how I’ll pull up. It’s bitterly disappointing but at the end of the day it’s the right decision by the UCI jury. We love the fans and 99 percent of them are brilliant but why do some of them need to take their selfies and run along beside us? There’s passion and there’s stupidity and it’s not such a fine line between them.”
“It’s a fair decision for all parties. I don’t know how else you could resolve it other than go back to the one kilometer mark and take the time from the riders at that point. But there could have been more time gaps one way or another had they gone to the finish line without the crash. But under the circumstances it’s fair for everybody,” said Jim Ochowicz, General Manager:
Richie Porte added, “The crowd was all over the road and the motorbike just stopped right in front of us and we had no where to go but straight over the top of the motorbike. It was just a mess. Froome was on my wheel and was straight into me. I don’t know what they’re going to do but they need to do something about it. It’s not fair. One minute we’re 23 seconds in front and the next thing for something so silly, everyone’s back on us. That can’t stand, it can’t happen like that. Surely the jury has to look at it and use some sort of discretion. If you can’t control the crowds what can you control?”
“It’s not really the motorbikes, it’s the crowds in your face the whole time, pushing riders. At the top there it was just crazy.”
BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen said, “We were coming around a corner and all of a sudden people were just stopped. I was kind of on the back of the group at that moment so I really got tangled up and lost some time. I can’t complain too much, poor Richie [Porte] and [Chris] Froome, they got the worst of it. Me and Quintana also really didn’t fare well from that so I don’t know, hopefully the jury uses some sort of discretion and is able to take the time with the one kilometer to go or something.”
“I didn’t see much but it was definitely mayhem out there. The crowds get a little out of control and with so many motorbikes, the road is only so big. Normally when you see a big GC guy in trouble the gentlemen thing to do would be to stop and wait and regroup. You saw that a lot in the past but these days people just seem to want to take advantage of it.”