A picture and its story: Chris Froome crashes in Tour de France

MONS-EN-PEVELE, France, July 19 (Reuters) - Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain crashed during the Tour de France at the 156.5-km Stage 9 from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix on Sunday.

Reuters photographer Benoit Tessier, who had never before covered the Paris-Roubaix, tells how he captured the moment.

"The night before, in my hotel room in Arras, I focused on the map of the ninth stage (Arras to Roubaix) so I would have all the information to guide my motorbike rider on the narrow, and sometimes cobbled, roads of northern France.

"I decided to cover only six of the 15 cobbled sectors and cut through the route at some points. During the stage, the peloton is nervous and many riders crash. At the beginning of sector number 8 in Mons-en-Pevele, I am crouching on the right side of the road. Its large and full of grass. I can’t imagine what’s going to happen next.

Photo Credit: Reuters

"At 1513, Team Sky, led by Pole Michal Kwiatkowski, arrives at full speed. Gianni Moscon crashes and Chris Froome, as well as Norway’s Alexander Kristoff, cannot avoid him. Yellow jersey holder Greg van Avermaet and German John Degenkolb, who will go on to win the stage, manage to just avoid the pile-up. It lasts a fraction of second. Four-time champion Froome gets back on his bike and makes it back to the main bunch.

"Photographers need to compose their image, sometimes in difficult conditions. I am happy I could analyze the situation quickly and that I reacted with the tools I had at my disposal at this moment: framing, composing, the characters’ gestures and their expressions."

The picture can be seen here: https://reut.rs/2NteR33 (Editing by Angus MacSwan)