Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) came to a standstill on the steep slopes of the Col de la Loze after a stalled motorbike and a car blocked his path on Stage 17 at the 2023 Tour de France.
The Dane was delivering the final nail in the coffin of Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who had earlier cracked on the brutal climb, when a swell of spectators and the stranded vehicles prevented him and team-mate Wilco Kelderman from ascending further.
The pair were forced to seek an alternative route through the melee, with Vingegaard unclipping his left shoe and pushing himself around the car and through the throng of fans.
“Cars, bikes, crowd, everybody. Nightmare,” cried Carlton Kirby on Eurosport commentary.
Incredibly, the Dane was then almost flung into Kelderman after receiving a push from supporters on the roadside who were desperate to help get him back up to speed.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a crucial moment in terms of what Vingegaard is able to offer the day, but his chances of taking this stage have now diminished because of that,” added Kirby.
Although Vingegaard’s charge slowed after the incident, he still put over five minutes into Pogacar to close on a second Tour title. He came home fourth to open up an enormous 7’35” lead in the general classification with four stages remaining.
Over on The Breakaway after the stage, Dan Lloyd called the incident a “farce” as the studio cast debated whether fans on the roadside contributed to the incident.
“When you look at this as the top sporting event within cycling, it just looks like a farce,” said Lloyd.
Robbie McEwen did not believe the spectators were at fault and instead pinned the blame on the amount of vehicles on the climb.
“I think rather than try and restrict fans, thin out the number of vehicles at the front of the race. They do not all need to be there,” said McEwen.