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RONCHAMP, France (VN) — Louis Meintjes was forced to run across the finish line atop the first-category summit at La Super Planche de Belles Filles at the end of Friday’s seventh stage at the Tour de France.
The Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider dismounted his bike and ran the closing meters at the summit to cross the line after problems with his Shimano Di2 derailleur.
“His gear slammed into crash mode, with 50, 75 meters to go,” Meintjes’ sports director Aike Visbeek told WielerFlits. “Then there was no saving and he had to walk.”
Shimano Di2 electronic drivetrains have a protective setting called crash mode that engages when the system believes it has been in an accident.
It disables shifting to protect the drivetrain from further damage, which is nice when there has actually been a crash, and less so when there hasn’t and a rider is mixing it up at the pointy end of the Tour de France.
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“That’s a bitter moment, because he was in eighth, ninth place,” Visbeek said. “He felt good and that’s why it’s a missed opportunity to get time back.”
The 30-year-old still managed to cross the line 16th on the stage despite the mishap. He climbed 12 spots on GC to settle into 27th overall at 6:05 back. Despite rising in the GC rankings, Meintjes lost out on an opportunity to gain even more time due to the mishap.
Tadej Pogačar won his second stage in a row to tighten his grip on the yellow jersey in the Tour’s first major summit finale.
— Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert (@IntermarcheWG) July 8, 2022