|Chris Froome running up Mt. Ventoux on Stage 12 (photo courtesy of Business Insider)|
Well, the TDF has had plenty of surprises this year. Phil Ligget says people always ask him "Don't you get tired of doing the same race every year"? His reply is that it is never the same race. That has been especially true this year. On stage 8, nothing much happened on the final climb of the day, which wasn't surprising since the next day was going to be a really tough one. What was a surprise was that as they crested, Chris Froome took off like a madman on the downhill. He caught everyone off guard and was able to finish 13 seconds ahead of his main rivals. Since he won the stage, he also got a ten second time bonus, so he gained a total of 23 seconds. Froome again surprised everyone on stage 11 when he bridged a gap to join a three man breakaway that included Peter Sagan. Severe crosswinds disrupted the peloton, and they couldn't quite pull them back, giving Froome six seconds over his main competitors. Since he finished second to Sagan, he got another six seconds time bonus.
The craziest thing occurred on stage12. Froome was attacking on the final climb, and right behind Richie Porte. There was a motorbike with a TV camera ahead of Porte, which had to stop suddenly due to fans blocking the road, causing a pile-up. Porte crashed into the motorbike, then Froome crashed into him. The crash broke the frame of Froome's bike, and due to the narrow, crowded roads, no support vehicle could get to him. Froome took off running up the hill. Eventually a neutral support car came by and gave him a bike, which he tried to ride. Since Froome is taller (6' 1") than most cyclists, the bike didn't fit him well at all. Finally a Team Sky car got there and gave him a properly sized bike, which he rode to the finish line. In the provisional results for the stage, Froome had lost his yellow jersey. Shortly afterward the officials sorted things out and Froome was back in the yellow jersey.