Cadel Evans nearly lost all hope of winning the 2012 Tour de France when he suffered multiple punctures on the final climb of stage 14 to Foix.



Evans punctured the first time near the top. His BMC team-mate Tejay Van Garderen carried on with yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins and the Australian was stranded at the top of the climb for almost a minute.

“I wasn’t quite sure if he had another team-mate in there with him, but in hindsight, I should’ve waited for him,” Van Garderen said. “It was pretty loud and chaotic, and I mean, I could kind of gather he had a punctured, but ah…”



Eventually Stephen Cummings arrived at the top, but his rear wheel was flat too. He stopped and waited with Evans, but could do nothing. Then, seconds later, George Hincapie arrived and was able to give Evans a wheel, although the BMC soigneur at the top then struggled to get the wheel in to Evans’s bike.

The lead group with Van Garderen contained about 15 cyclists. Van Garderen sits seventh overall and holds the white jersey of best young rider. In the group was also Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat), who is second in the young rider classification at just under two minutes.

“He was in that group. I don’t know if he was in front of [Evans], behind him, I don’t know,” BMC’s general manager, Jim Ochowicz said to a group of journalists. “We were far behind in the car at that moment so we couldn’t tell and the TV was on and off.”



Tour sabotage

Tour event director, Jean-François Pescheux later reported that somebody had thrown tacks on the road. He showed them on French television after the stage and confirmed that there were as many as 30 punctures of the top of the Mur de Pérguére, an extremely narrow climb. They may have appeared after the escape passed as none of the riders from the group punctured.

On the descent, Evans punctured again, then stopped a third time to adjust a wheel. Cycling Weekly received confirmation that the Movistar team car also punctured, while several moto pilots Tweeted pictures of their wheels with tacks stuck in them.



Robert Kiserlovski came off worse when a puncture caused him to crash and break his collarbone.



Garmin and Sky were among the teams that kept rolling smoothly, though race leader Wiggins stopped for a bike change on the descent.

Around “30-40 blokes punctured. That’s it. We were lucky, no one punctured,” Sky’s team principal, David Brailsford said. “Brad changed his bike, but there was no panic. Brad took the view that there was something wrong, so he slowed down a bit and decided not to take advantage. A couple of other teams took it on at the bottom of the hill, but that’s there decision.”

As soon as Wiggins got back to the group, he slowed things down to allow Evans to rejoin. At that moment, Pierre Rolland (Europcar) attacked. He later said he was unaware of the puncture Evans suffered. The Lotto and Liquigas teams did most of the work to chase the Frenchman down, as soon as they had caught him the group sat up and rolled to the finish in Foix.

“It’s pretty obvious if something like that happens, that’s not bike racing is it? If someone wants to take it upon himself and do that…” Brailsford continued. “Fair play to Bradley, it’s a very sportsman-like effort.”

“I don’t say anything to [Rolland], this is… He has to live with that,” Ochowicz said. “I don’t think Rolland was very sporting in that effort. The others respected that it was not just us having problems.”

“I don’t know whether he knew or not. Only he would know obviously,” Wiggins said of Rolland. “We caught him once and then he attacked again. I don’t know. I knew straight away that something had happened and I am sure everyone else did. It didn’t seem the honourable thing to do really, to benefit from other peoples’ misfortune at part of a race which was over.”

Photo: Philippe Van Holle of La Dernière Heure newspaper

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Wiggins still Sky’s main man as Tour heads towards Pyrenees

Millar’s Tour win comes after ‘second chance’

Froome explains his attack on La Toussuire

Nibali fails to crack Sky but pleased with Tour mountains performance

Roche ready to achieve career-long Tour top ten ambition

Wiggins: ‘I’m not some s**t rider that’s come from nowhere

Nibali hits out at Wiggins after Tour frustration

Cavendish enjoying new Tour role

Wiggins taking nothing for granted in ‘dream scenario’

Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins

Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour

Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage

Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last

Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials

CW’s Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 14 by Graham Watson

Stage 13 by Graham Watson

Stage 12 by Graham Watson

Stage 11 by Graham Watson

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

 

  • dai bananas brother

    Dai’s missus, and her cousin who works for the ambulance people, says its a good reason for not having riders’ radios, especially on 50mph plus descents. – not really very safe when you think about it, someone bawling in your ear while you’re looking for a good line on a hairpin. Just let them get on with it, would they have stopped if Evans had been ‘caught short’ and had to get ‘over the hedge? Come to think of it, a hundred years ago when the riders were obstructed by mobs waving clubs, nobody waited about.

  • TG

    Monsieur Rolland may regret doing that in the future, as others will be reluctant to wait for him if he has a mechanical problem.

  • Phil Riley

    I don’t know ether it’s just BMC who did it but, why was there a soigneur at the top of the climb handing out bottles etc., and he didn’t have a few wheels with him as well.

  • Dave B

    I think Wiggins did the right thing.

    Not only was it a good example of sportsmanship, especially as it appears that Evans punctures were caused by an idiot spreading tacks. It also means that nobody in the future can say that he only won because Evans punctured and Wiggins rode on.

    Also, it’s not Bradley Wiggins fault that most of his rivals fell off in the first week!

  • Mark N

    How interesting to compare this with Contador’s attacking of Schleck a couple of years ago after his chain had come off. Wiggo showed true sportsmanship yesterday, something I don’t believe Contador did.

    And as for Rolland claiming that he didn’t know about it, b*llocks. They all have radios, don’t they ? He’s lost my respect now.

  • Rich

    I am sick and tired of the sham that this Tour is turning into, uninspiring race for yellow being led by a dreadful person and average rider. Everyone is more worried about offending people than racing, Hinault must be so embarrassed by this generation and Fignon must be turning in his grave.

    If someone punctures or crashes…tough, put the hammer down and make sure that they can’t come back to hurt you later on.

    Winning is the most important thing, not taking part.

  • scandalxk

    Van Garderen has a better chance of winning the White Jersey than Evans has of winning the Yellow.

    I write as a person who likes and respects Evans, by the way.

  • Piskian

    Did you see the amateurism of BMC though?Firstly,they assembled a mainly flat rider based team for a defending TDF winner,then they buggered up team support .TJ should be leader on the road as it stands.Come on Cadel,face the facts and support your sponsor!

  • JD

    As he rode at the front of a becalmed peloton, behold Wiggo the Tour de France Modfather…

  • JD

    Presumably after the trivial debate of ‘Froomegate’ people will now give Van Garderen a hard time about not stopping to help his – ahem – team leader.

    I bet Cadel noticed. The TV viewers certainly did.