Bradley Wiggins maintained his stranglehold on the Tour de France during Sunday’s 14th stage despite a slew of crashes triggered by tacks and small nails littered across the road during the day’s final climb.
In a scene befitting a Mario Kart race, a slew of riders suffered flat tires and at least 30 riders — including defending champion Cadel Evans — were affected in the first day in the Pyrenees.
Remarkably, Wiggins avoided the fray, but in the spirit of time-honored etiquette, the British cyclist encouraged the peloton to lag so as not to capitalize on the attempted sabotage. Wiggins and Evans finished with the same time of 18 minutes, 15 seconds and Evans remains 3 minutes, 19 seconds behind Wiggins overall.
Race officials have asked police to investigate the incident during the 119-mile stage.
“I thought it was the honorable thing to do, nobody should ever profit by somebody’s misfortune like that,” Wiggins told the Telegraph of his decision not to attack. “It became quite apparent very quickly when all of the guys started puncturing at once. It wasn’t just one or two, it all started happening and was becoming dangerous.”
The field headed southwest Monday for the relatively flat 15th stage which began in Samatan and concluded 158.5 kilometers (99 miles) later in Pau. Pierrick Fedrigo of France won the stage in 3 hours, 40 minutes and 15 seconds. Wiggins finished in the pack more than 11 minutes behind Fedrigo.
The riders enjoy an off day Tuesdsay before consecutive days climbing in the grueling Pyrenees.