The Tour de France had not long rolled out of Annemasse at the start of stage 14 when there was a huge crash on a sweeping descent.
Bodies and bikes filled the road, and with a number clearly in a bad way, the organisers opted to neutralise the stage to ensure that the medical services and team cars could attend to injured riders – and with ambulances occupied at the back of the race, the stage couldn’t safely continue.
As is always the way, there had been a frantic scramble to get going again after the crash, but the peloton was halted not far down the road, pausing at a bridge near the foot of the first categorised climb of the day, each team given a chance to assess the damage. The word is that Team TotalEnergies was the only team to come away completely unscathed, with every other seeing at least one rider affected.
Worst of them was Movistar’s Antonio Pedrero who was seen being loaded into an ambulance as the first abandon of the stage. Lotto Dstny’s Frederik Frison and Maxim van Gils – second on the Grand Colombier yesterday – took a while to get going, as did Adrien Petit of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, but all three soon remounted their bikes, albeit heavily bandaged.
Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) was the second abandon of the day, reportedly suffering a suspected broken collarbone. Among the others recording injuries in the mass crash were third-place overall Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), vital Jumbo-Visma domestique Wilco Kelderman, eighth-place Tom Pidcock along with Ineos Grenadiers teammate Dani Martínez, and breakaway specialists Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) and Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost).
The Colombian’s kit was well scraped up, notably on his back, but he resumed the race with the peloton when the race got the go-ahead after a 25-minute neutralisation. However, Chaves was not able to maintain pace and after about ten kilometres he was shown sitting in the back of a team vehicle, gesturing at his shoulder. And soon after – as the race passed 130 km to go – the Colombian fan favourite became the third abandon of the day.
The drama didn’t let up as the stage wound it’s way towards its final destination of Morzine les Portes du Soleil, and there was another high-speed crash on the first significant descent of the day, Romain Bardet (DSM-firmenich) and James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost) coming down hard. Not long after the last abandon faded from the screen, Bardet’s own withdrawal was announced, and then Shaw became the second EF rider to have his race ended, making it five DNFs. So far.
Full list of stage 14 abandons:
- Antonio Pedrero (Movistar)
- Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty)
- Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost)
- Romain Bardet (DSM-firmenich)
- James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost)
- Ramon Sinkeldam (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
- Ruben Guerreiro (Movistar)
Post-stage update: At the end of another attritional and fast-paced GC contest, there were no more significant incidents and no further abandons as riders succumbed to the injuries from the earlier crashes. Adrien Petit was dropped very early, his right lower leg heavily bandaged after essentially being skinned and the right leg of his bibshorts in tatters, but the hardy Frenchman made it to the finish, 158th out of 158 riders, with almost five minutes to spare before the time cut.
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