Title: Former Pro Rider and Motorcycle Driver Suspended for Harming Tour de France Race Leader
In a recent development, former professional rider and current commentator, Thomas Voeckler, along with his motorcycle driver, Joël Chary, has been suspended for one stage from the Tour de France. The suspension was imposed after Voeckler and Chary unintentionally hindered the race leader, Jonas Vingegaard.
The incident occurred during stage 17, just before reaching the summit of the challenging Col de la Loze. Unfortunately, Voeckler’s motorbike unexpectedly stalled on the steepest pitch, blocking the race commissaire’s car. This unexpected halt caused chaos as crowds swarmed the incident, resulting in significant delays for several riders, including the notable Thibaut Pinot.
Fortunately, the incident did not pose a significant threat to Vingegaard’s leading position, as he managed to maintain his advantage and even extended it to an impressive 7 minutes and 35 seconds over second-place Tadej Pogačar.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that motorbikes have interfered with the race on a major climb in this year’s Tour de France. During stage 14, a photographer’s motorbike inadvertently prevented an attacking maneuver from Pogačar. Both the driver and the photographer involved in that incident also faced fines and suspensions as a consequence.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that this recent incident pales in comparison to the chaos witnessed back in 2016 on Mont Ventoux when a motorbike caused a crash involving prominent cyclists such as Chris Froome, Richie Porte, and Bauke Mollema. Froome even had to resort to running on foot until he could manage to secure a spare bike.
These unfortunate instances highlight the challenges faced by race organizers in ensuring the safety and fair play of the Tour de France. Measures need to be taken to prevent such incidents and maintain the integrity of the competition.
As Voeckler and Chary face their suspension, it remains to be seen whether the Tour de France can effectively address these recurring issues of motorbike interference. The cycling community hopes that such incidents will be kept to a minimum, allowing the riders to focus solely on their exceptional athletic performances.
Word count: 362