Froome retains lead as Thomas suffers freak crash

Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:51pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

GAP, France (Reuters) - Chris Froome was reminded just how quickly the Tour de France title could slip from his grip as his Sky team mate Geraint Thomas suffered a freak crash in Monday's 16th stage.

The day's laurels went to Spaniard Ruben Plaza Molina although the action was way behind as Froome's key lieutenant Thomas was sent flying off the road.

In a tricky final descent Thomas bumped into Frenchman Warren Barguil and collided head first into a telegraph pole, disappearing over the road into the vegetation.

"Everyone was anticipating that descent as a critical moment of the race," Froome said.

"I think there is some riders who look to gain some time in moments like that I think we've seen Nibali riding in similar fashion and we can expect more of that in the next few days."

Thomas said: "I was just taken out."

The Welshman, who is sixth overall, was quickly back on his bike and reached the finish incurring only minor losses.

"I apologize I wanted to brake just before the bend but (American) Tejay van Garderen pushed me with his shoulder and my finger slipped from the brake lever, I'm sorry," said Barguil.   Continued...

Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain, wearing the race leader's yellow jersey, rides during the 201-km (124 miles) 16th stage of the 102nd Tour de France cycling race from Bourg-de-Peage to Gap, France, July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier