LAC DE PAYOLLE, France (VN) — The Tour de France’s inflatable arch marking one kilometer remaining fell and caused Adam Yates to crash and stopped the overall favorites. The Orica – BikeExchange climber, who had been around 10 seconds up the road, crossed the finish line with a bloody face, minutes behind the GC group.
Tour sport director Thierry Gouvenou said immediately afterward that the race organizer ASO would take the times for the overall at the 3km to go marker. Organizers say that a spectator inadvertently dislodged a pin holding one of the arch’s four feet to the ground. “That had never happened in 15 years and is obviously regrettable,” said Tour director Christian Prudhomme
Yates attacked the main group with Daniel Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) over the Col d’Aspin with seven kilometers remaining. When the television images showed him, he was entangled with the arch. He stood up as the other favorites arrived and sat back down on the pavement. His bike was seen tangled in the deflated arch.
Another Brit, Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) won solo next to Lac de Payolle thanks to an attack over the Col d’Aspin from the early escape. The favorites crossed the line 4:31 behind; Yates came home at 8:15.
“I’m beyond disappointed really,” Yates said at the team bus after having four stitches. “There’s not much you can do. At 1K, when it came down on me, I had no time to react. At the end of the day, it was good that it was just me on my own. If the peloton was there on a sprint stage, at 70 to 80kph, it would’ve been worse.
“I had a millisecond to react, that’s not long enough to pull the brakes. [It] came down, I hit it.”
Yates was racing for the white jersey and had time on the group when he arrived at the one kilometer marker of the 162.5-kilometer stage.
“At the top of the climb, I followed Dan Martin when he attack. I took risk on the descent to get the white jersey, I had five or seven seconds.”
After a long review, the jury said that Yates should have the white jersey because of an advantage that he had at three kilometers out on the Alaphilippe group.
Yates will take the jersey at a ceremony Saturday morning in Pau before the start of stage 8 to Bagnères-de-Luchon.
He aims to win one of the mountain stages in this Tour. He said that the incident today left him with a cut shoulder, and a “banged up” wrist and knee, but that he is OK.