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Tour de France Director Calls for Calm After Alpe d’Huez Incidents

Tour de France Director Calls for Calm After Alpe d’Huez IncidentsTour de France Director Calls for Calm After Alpe d’Huez Incidents

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has called for calm after a number of incidents tarnished the 12th stage up to the iconic Alpe d’Huez in France on Thursday.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali sustained a fractured vertebra when he crashed about four kilometers from the top of the 13.8km climb after being hit by what appeared to be either a spectator or a police motorbike, Reuters reported.

The 2014 champion believed he may have touched a motorbike but television footage suggests he came into contact with a spectator on the right side of a narrow road that lacked barriers to protect the riders.

Defending champion Chris Froome, who has often been subjected to negative treatment from Tour de France fans, was booed all the way up to the summit and one spectator ran alongside the Briton before slapping him on the shoulder.

The four-times champion’s Sky team mate Geraint Thomas, who extended his overall lead with a stage victory, was also jeered at the podium ceremony, while Frenchman Romain Bardet narrowly avoided a collision with a fan lying on the road.

“I’m calling for serenity,” Prudhomme told French radio station France Info on Friday before the start of the 13th stage, a 169.5km ride from Bourg d’Oisans to Valence.

Froome has often had to fend off doping allegations since he won his first Tour in 2013 and was cleared of an offense days before the start of this year’s race after he was found to have excessive levels of an asthma drug during one stage at last year’s Vuelta.

“I firmly condemn these incidents,” added Prudhomme, who insisted that most of cycling fans were non-violent. “I want the fans to respect the riders. In cycling, you can support a rider without booing the others.”

 

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