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Chaos hits Tour de France as race leader Chris Froome has to run up the epic Mont Ventoux after crashing into a motorbike and losing his bike

Tour de France Preview - A Beginner's Guide

In an unbelievable sight on Thursday at the Tour de France, race leader Chris Froome had to run up the epic Mont Ventoux after an incident with a motorbike.

That left some riders crashing to the ground and Froome, in the race leader's yellow jersey, without a bike.

At risk of losing time and even possibly his race lead, he started running up the climb frantically among thousands of spectators.

We can't recall ever seeing anything quite like this happen before.

It was a mad scene:

Of course social media blew up with images of Froome running up the epic climb.

The images were surreal:

The AFP reported that the reigning Tour champ had lost the race lead to compatriot Adam Yates as a result of the crash.

Many wondered if it was even allowed for Froome to run on foot without his bike, but according to the rules it's actually allowed:

But Froome, after awaiting a decision from the race jury, later tweeted that he had kept his lead:

Froome was racing with Australian Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands when all three crashed into a bike that was held up by fans, AFP reported:

The incident cost him terribly and having started the day with a 28sec lead over Yates, he now trails his 23-year-old countryman by 53sec in the provisional standings, down in sixth place.

The race jury will have to decide whether or not the incident falls into the realm of a racing incident or whether extenuating circumstances will force a change in the standings.

Froome's sports director at Sky, Nicolas Portal said: "We'll wait for the jury's decision."

He continued: "The motorcycle couldn't pass because of thousands of fans.

"It's not one, two or ten but for 200-metres there were hundreds of fans.

"It's a behaviour... I don't know how to describe it."

Froome's main rivals, including Colombian Nairo Quintana were also held up by the crash as a throng of fans obstructed the road.

Porte hit the motorbike with Froome next and Mollema also running into the back of the vehicle.

By the time the other overall contenders reached that point, the whole road was blocked and no-one could get through.

But the over-riding sight of the 178km 12th stage from Montpellier to Mont Ventoux, was the yellow jersey of Froome running on foot inside the final kilometre in a desperate attempt to save his race.

That Belgian Thomas De Gendt won the stage on the mythical mountain was barely a footnote amongst the incredible drama surrounding Froome.

Yates is the new leader -- provisionally at least -- by just nine seconds from Mollema, who was the first able to get up and ride on to finish 10th on the stage, with Quintana third at 14sec.

Froome lost 1min 40sec to Mollema in the catastrophic incident which is being investigated by Tour organisers.

Depending on what they decide, Froome could even find himself back in yellow when an official and final decision is made.

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