Froome Tackled by Tour Police

The officer made an unfortunate mistake

RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini

Defending champion Chris Froome crashed out  — after being knocked off his bike when an overzealous policeman mistook him for a fan on stage 17 Wednesday. Team Sky leader Froome, a four-time champion, finished the stage in eighth place at 1:35 behind Colombian winner Nairo Quintana and 0:48 behind teammate and overall leader Geraint Thomas.

The Kenyan-born Briton had put on his rain jacket and was cycling back to the Team Sky bus when a policeman on the side of the road mistakenly took him for one of the thousands of cycling fans who traditionally ride up the mountain stages to catch a glimpse of their idols. He tried to get Froome to stop and in the confusion the six-time Grand Tour champion crashed. He avoided injury and is set to start stage 18 on Thursday. “It was a misunderstanding. Chris is fine,” said a Team Sky spokesman.

Froome, who had been aiming for a fourth consecutive Grand Tour victory after triumphing at the Vuelta a Espana last year and this year’s Giro d’Italia, is now in a battle for a podium place. Team boss Dave Brailsford said they will now plan to make sure Froome joins Thomas on the Tour de France podium: “He’s not out of it necessarily, there’s a big mountain day to come, and the time trial. We’ll sit down tonight, review everything, see how everybody feels then make our plan of attack.”

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