Chris Froome has reported an apparent hit-and-run incident to police after saying he was deliberately knocked off his bike while training in southern France yesterday.
The three-time Tour de France winner posted a picture of his broken bike on Twitter but said he was not hurt in the incident.
The Team Sky rider wrote: “Just got rammed on purpose by an impatient driver who followed me onto the pavement! Thankfully I’m okay Bike totaled. Driver kept going!”
The picture was geotagged from Beausoleil in France, close to Froome’s home in Monaco. His Pinarello Dogma F10 bike appeared to be damaged beyond repair.
Team Sky said the 31-year-old had returned home to get a spare bike and had continued his training after the incident.
Last month, 2011 Giro d’Italia winner Michele Scarponi of the Astana team was killed when he was knocked off his bike by a van while training close to home in Italy.
Scarponi had been preparing for this year’s Giro, where the Mortirolo climb has now been named in his honour.
Also last month, Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider Yoann Offredo posted pictures on social media of himself badly bloodied, saying he had been the victim of an assault while out riding with two friends in the Chevreuse Valley, south west of Paris.
Froome’s incident hit home with several riders.
Team Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas, who is competing at the Giro, said: “It’s a reminder, it shows how dangerous it can be. I only saw it five minutes before getting off the bus. It didn’t look good at all. I’ll speak to him later today.”
Spanish rider Mikel Landa, who is also riding at the Giro for Team Sky, added: “You can’t always be scared when you are riding on the roads, but with the situation like you see today with Froome, you think a lot about how we are at risk on the road.
“I had goose bumps (seeing the photograph). I thought about Scarponi. In an accident, we are always going to be the one who’s worse off.”
Froome is preparing for this year’s Tour de France, where he will be seeking a fourth title in five years and third in a row.
He finished 18th in the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland at the end of last month, and his next race is expected to come in early June at the Criterium du Dauphine — which he won ahead of each of his Tour victories in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
The Tour de France starts in Dusseldorf on July 1.
Meanwhile, Jan Polanc claimed a fine solo win on Mount Etna on stage four of the Giro d’Italia as Bob Jungels took the race leader’s pink jersey.
Britain’s Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) finished third on the 181-kilometres route from Cefalu on Sicily to move second overall, six seconds behind Luxembourg’s Jungels.
Jungels became the fourth leader from four days of racing, succeeding team-mate Fernando Gaviria in the maglia rose. Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) was eighth to move 10 seconds behind Jungels in third overall in the three-week race, which finishes in Milan on May 28.
Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) was part of the day’s early breakaway, which escaped after two kilometres, and he dug deep to win.
Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo — a Sicilian who trains on Etna regularly — had hoped to put on a show to dedicate a victory to Scarponi.
But his attack on the early slopes of Etna was short-lived and his Danish team-mate Jesper Hansen later had a go, too, but was also soon reeled in.
Russia’s Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) did escape, but ran out of road in his pursuit of Polanc and had to settle for second on the day, 19 seconds adrift.
Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) finished among the general classification contenders, who sized each other up on the finishing ascent and were ultimately separated only in a sprint, 29 seconds behind Polanc.
Thomas won the sprint for the line and with it four bonus seconds.
But Jungels finished on the same time in seventh place, just enough to take the pink jersey from his Colombian team-mate Gaviria — a sprinter who was never likely to defend the jersey on yesterday.
Welshman Thomas is sharing the Team Sky lead with Mikel Landa, who recovered to finish among the pack despite suffering a puncture inside the final 10km. There was a moment of controversy for Team Sky as the pace increased towards the foot of the final climb. Team Sky’s Diego Rosa had his jersey tugged by Javier Moreno (Bahrain Merida).
Team Sky’s Philip Deignan was 56th on the stage and occupies the same place in the overall rankings, 11 minutes behind Jungels, while compatriot Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgroghe) was 182nd today and is 188th on the general classification.
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