Tour struggles on amid tight security

British rider Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, is the running man as he heads up Mont Ventoux for a replacement bike after falling during the 178km 12th stage of the Tour de France. Amid chaos, he lost the lead but was
British rider Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, is the running man as he heads up Mont Ventoux for a replacement bike after falling during the 178km 12th stage of the Tour de France. Amid chaos, he lost the lead but was then reinstated with a wider advantage.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BOURG SAINT ANDEOL (France) • Yesterday's 13th stage of the Tour de France cycling classic went ahead amid heightened security, despite the terror attack which killed at least 84 people in Nice on Thursday.

Some 600 security personnel were deployed along the 37km route from Bourg Saint Andeol to La Caverne du Pont d'Arc in the south of France.

"All access roads leading to the route have been blocked," assistant Tour director Pierre-Yves Thouault, who is in charge of security, said.

The Tour is officially in mourning, say organisers, with yesterday's festivities suspended.

A minute's silence was held at the start and another at the finish while the publicity caravan that precedes the Tour along each stage route was silent in memory of the victims.

"We want this day to be dignified in homage to the victims," said Tour director Christian Prudhomme ahead of the start of the stage.

Despite the extra security, former world champion Rui Costa of Portugal admitted that he was afraid that the Tour could also be targeted, in particular because of the thousands of people who line the streets every day to watch the cyclists go past.

"#prayfornice I don't feel safe here in France," he wrote on Facebook. "Cycling brings thousands of people together in the same place, it's an easy target.

"I'm afraid for the cyclists and the fans."

Yellow jersey holder Chris Froome, who suffered his own personal drama - being left without a bike following an incident involving a motorcycle in a farcical finale to the 12th stage on Thursday - paid tribute to the victims on Twitter.

"Thoughts are with those affected by the horrific terror attack in Nice," the Briton wrote, alongside a picture of the French flag.

On Thursday, a jury of commissioners representing the International Cycling Union (UCI) decided to invoke the 3km rule normally used in mass sprint finishes, which neutralises times in the run-in to the line in case of a crash or technical incident.

That meant Froome was reinstated as the Yellow Jersey holder despite finishing 1min 21sec behind fellow Briton Adam Yates, who was initially announced as the new race leader.

Froome led Yates by 47 seconds at the start of yesterday's time trial.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'Tour struggles on amid tight security'. Print Edition | Subscribe