Froome rides out 'curse'

Germany's Tony Martin, who started the sixth stage wearing the yellow jersey, had to withdraw from the Tour de France after he broke his collarbone in a fall on Thursday.
Germany's Tony Martin, who started the sixth stage wearing the yellow jersey, had to withdraw from the Tour de France after he broke his collarbone in a fall on Thursday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Briton is new Tour leader but does not wear yellow jersey out of respect for hurt Martin

LE HAVRE (France) • Chris Froome is staying positive despite a "curse" that seems to be affecting wearers of the yellow jersey in cycling's Tour de France this year.

The Briton started yesterday's seventh stage as the Tour race leader after German Tony Martin was forced to abandon the race after crashing and breaking his collarbone on Thursday.

However, he has decided not to wear the yellow jersey for the stage, as a mark of respect for the unfortunate German.

"For those asking, I won't be wearing yellow today! All the best to #tonymartin85 with his op & recovery," said Froome on his official Twitter page.

Martin was the second yellow-jersey wearer to crash out of the race following Swiss Fabian Cancellara on Monday.

Cancellara's crash, in which he broke two vertebrae in his back, allowed Froome to take the jersey by finishing second in Monday's stage. However, he lost it to Martin the very next day.

When three-time world time-trial champion Martin broke his collarbone in a fall on Thursday, the jersey went back to Froome, who led from Tejay Van Garderen.

The 2013 Tour champion could have found himself in trouble as well on Thursday as he was caught up in the Martin crash.

"I took a knock on my knee bone and there was a little bit of blood there, but nothing more than that, I'm absolutely fine," said Froome.

"I had to wait on the roadside as my rear wheel was buckled and I couldn't ride on.

"For me, it was about staying out of trouble and the guys did a good job in keeping me towards the front of the bunch.

"I'm really happy with how things have gone up to this point and couldn't have asked for any better. Hopefully, we can keep that."

Froome was forced out of the defence of his Tour yellow jersey in the fifth stage in the previous year after a third crash in two days saw him break his wrist.

A massive pile-up on Monday saw around 20 riders hit the tarmac and seven of them, including Cancellara, were unable to start the race the next day.

On Wednesday, both French sprint hope Nacer Bouhanni and New Zealander Jack Bauer quit the Tour after spills while Swiss Michael Albasini finished the stage but pulled out before Thursday's start due to a broken arm.

With Martin now out, it makes it 11 riders already lost to the Tour.

And it could have been worse with the likes of reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali and fellow overall hopeful Nairo Quintana both taken down in Thursday's fall.

Nibali, though, said he was fine, while Quintana said: "I have a superficial wound."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


TOUR DE FRANCE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'FROOME RIDES OUT 'CURSE''. Print Edition | Subscribe