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Flamme Rouge collapse could have been malicious

Flamme Rouge supporting pin
Ollie Gill
12 Jul 2016

Workers who maintain the Flamme Rouge say ASO’s explanation is implausible and more likely a supporting pin was deliberately removed.

While Adam Yates nurses his badly bruised face, there remains confusion as to the exact cause of the collapse of the giant inflatable gantry that represents the Flamme Rouge on stage seven of the Tour de France. The official line from ASO, Tour de France organizer, was that a spectator’s belt became caught, unplugging a cable to the generator that keeps the structure upright. But the employees from the Dutch company sub-contracted to manage the Flamme Rouge at today’s stage in Revel appeared unconvinced by this explanation.

‘If the generator fails or loses power, it wouldn’t deflate that quickly. We have had a generator fail before and still managed to keep similar structures up,’ an employee, who wished to remain nameless, told Cyclist.

Instead the employee said that it is more likely that one of the pins at the bottom of the structure was removed - an explanation that could indicate malicious intent. He added that the current explanation is based on what one witness has told the police. The employees said that they did not see anything that corroborated such an explanation.

Previously, spectators could walk right up to the four feet of the inflatables, but extra fencing is in place around the structure.

‘We have believed for a while that there should be more security around the Flamme Rouge,’ the employee said.

The employees added that they had heard rumours that farmers in the Lac de Payolle region were not happy about Tour de France running through their area, although they could not explain why this was.

Numerous riders were caught behind the collapsing structure, including British rider Adam Yates (currently in second on GC) who suffered a cut to his chin in the process. The stage times were neutralized under the 3km rule, so no one directly lost time although Yates was obviously disappointed, as he had attacked before being caught up.

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