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Why was Froome unable to use neutral service bike?

Mavic Neutral Serivce bike
Ollie Gill
14 Jul 2016

After Chris Froome's bizarre crash, he abandoned his bike in favour of running then neutral service but it was no use. Why?

The sight of Chris Froome running up the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux will have likely led to equal amounts of laughter and anger from those watching on the sidelines and at home.

Unlike Bauke Mollema and Richie Porte, Froome’s bike appeared to have been terminally damaged when the three riders hit the back of a TV motorbike. It’s unclear at this point exactly what caused the motorbike to stop suddenly in front of the trio, but most will assume the incident was the result of overzealous fans packing the roadside up the Ventoux’s slopes.

After the initial chaos the footage switched to the surreal sight of the yellow jersey running up the road while gesticulating to the Mavic neutral service motorbike. We saw a shaken-looking Porte ride by, having managed to get back on two wheels despite being the one who took the initial hit  into the back of the TV motorbike, then finally the Mavic car caught up with the maillot jaune and provided a replacement bike.

But Froome appeared unable to ride the bike provided, not being able to clip in. The reason seems to be very simple, as the following pictures taken at the start in Carcassonne yesterday suggest.

Of the three Canyon Ultimate bikes that the Mavic cars carry, two have Look pedals and one has flats with old style clips. Froome uses Shimano pedals – a system that isn’t interchangeable with the French manufacturer Look’s system.

While much of the damage had already been done by the time Froome jumped astride the yellow Mavic steed, many will be left scratching their heads as to why a Shimano-compatible option wasn’t available given that it’s such a popular pedal in the pro peloton.

Although given everything else that happened on a farcical day on the Tour, we’re not expecting clarity on the matter anytime soon. What is clear is that ASO and UCI have elected to neutralise the finish and Froome remains in the yellow jersey.