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Froome risks losing yellow jersey

Associated Press Associated Press 14/07/2016

Chris Froome risked losing the yellow jersey after his bike was broken in a bizarre crash involving Australian Richie Porte at the wild conclusion to the 12th stage of the Tour de France on Thursday.

In a complete embarrassment for race organisers on Bastille Day, Porte crashed into a motorbike carrying a TV camera and Froome, who was following right behind his former teammate, also crashed in the final kilometre on the wind-shortened climb to Mont Ventoux.

Froome threw his bike aside and began running up the road instead. He eventually was given a small yellow race assistance bike before his team car was finally able to provide him with a suitable substitute.

All of Froome's main rivals crossed ahead of him but it wasn't immediately clear if race officials would neutralise the finish and enable Froome to keep the lead.

Froome shook his head in disbelief as he crossed the line.

"Let's wait and see for the jury decision," Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said. "It was a nightmare. It took up to two minutes for him to get a spare bike but the pedals did not suit him.

"I can't understand how so many people were allowed there, it was mayhem."

Unofficial results put Adam Yates of Britain in front with a nine-second lead over Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands. Nairo Quintana was unofficially third, 14 seconds behind, while Froome dropped to sixth, 53 seconds back.

Before the crash, Froome had dropped most of his rivals besides Porte and Mollema.

Thomas De Gendt won the stage after getting into an early breakaway and easily sprinting past Serge Pauwels on the steep slopes of Ventoux.

With the wind blowing at 125km/h on top of the "Giant of Provence," organisers moved the finish line 6km down the road to the Chalet Reynard.

It was still a gruelling 10km climb featuring several sections with gradients exceeding 10 per cent.

The 178km leg began in Montpellier near the Mediterranean coast, passed by the 15th-century Chateau of Tarascon, and scaled the hilltop village of Gordes.

It was De Gendt's first career stage win in the Tour. He finished third in the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

The race's first time trial comes on Friday with a hilly 37.5km leg from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne du Pont-D'Arc.

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