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July 10, 2015 – The Tour de France peloton will ride 190.5km from Livarot to Fougeres on Friday without a yellow jersey after Chris Froome opted against donning it. Tony Martin would have been the yellow jersey wearer for Friday’s stage seven but he crashed in the finale of Thursday’s sixth stage, breaking his collarbone and forcing him to abandon the race.
The jersey thus should have passed to new leader Froome, the 2013 champion, but he decided to decline the honor as a mark of respect for Martin. “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. There is precedent for such a move by Froome.
In 1980 Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk turned down the opportunity to wear yellow after race leader Bernard Hinault quit following stage 12 due to tendinitis in his knee.
American Greg Lemond did likewise in 1991 after Dane Rolf Sorensen crashed just before the finish in Valenciennes. But the most famous such incident was when Belgian great Eddy Merckx refused the jersey after Spain’s Luis Ocana crashed in 1971. Most recently, Alberto Contador declined to wear the jersey in 2007 after Denmark’s Michael Rasmussen was forced out of the race due to a doping scandal.
Martin was the 15th yellow jersey wearer to crash out of the Tour de France. The Etixx-Quick Step rider caused the spill as he wobbled to his right, bumping into France’s Warren Barguil. “I hit the rear wheel of the rider in front of me. I thought I almost could stay upright, but then I went into a rider of Giant-Alpecin and I had no balance anymore,” explained the three-time world timetrial champion.
“I crashed at relatively low speed, with my full weight on the left shoulder. I felt directly that something was broken. We went to make an X-Ray directly after the finish because I was thinking ‘OK, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I can start tomorrow’. “But now it is confirmed my (collarbone) is broken. This has been like a movie, an emotional roller coaster at this Tour. Now I am really sad.”
Martin inadvertently caused a spat between reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali and Froome, with the Italian initially blaming the Sky rider for the crash. Froome went straight from the finish to Nibali’s Astana team bus to straighten things out with the Sicilian.
“There was some confusion as to who caused the crash, wanted to clear that up with @AstanaTeam @vincenzonibali (definitely wasn’t me!),” Froome tweeted after a picture was shared of him at the Astana bus. Nibali revealed he had apologized to the man he succeeded as Tour champion.
“After the crash I thought it was @chrisfroome, but then he came to me we sorted things out and I apologized to him,” the 30-year-old winner of all three Grand Tours said on Twitter. Nibali also explained why he had initially been so upset. “I need to recover from a few bumps and bruises, it’s never pleasant to hit the deck with the entire peloton on top of you!!”