Dimension Data’s Tyler Farrar borrowed shoes and a bike from a fan to ensure he completed today’s Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under to stay in the race.
With his team car and neutral service support already up the road, the American, left bloodied and scarred by the crash, gratefully accepted the offer of help from 42-year-old New Zealander Anthony Tooman, reports Adelaide Now.
The assistance contravened a UCI rule that says that “riders may only receive technical support from the technical personnel of their team or from one of the neutral support cars or else from the broom wagon.”
However, the commissaries decided not to sanction the American, who finished the stage on the De Rosa bike 13 minutes 7 seconds behind winner Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge, because of exceptional circumstances.
Mr Tooman, who went to the end of the stage in the broom wagon, said: “We could see him on the side of the road and asked ‘do you need a wheel?’ and he said ‘nah, a wheel is not going to cut it.’
“Then it went to ‘well, what pedals are you running?’
“He was on Speedplay and I was on Shimano, and as soon as that was decided it was just ‘well you might as well just take everything’.
“Then the next question was ‘what size shoe are you?’
“He was a size 43 and I’m a 44, so we swapped shoes, he jumped on my bike, we gave him some water and seeya later.”
After the stage, Farrar’s team tweeted: “A big thanks to the spectator who lent Tyler Farrar his bike today. Tyler would be out of the @tourdownunder if it weren't for you mate! ;)”
The crash happened with around 20 kilometres left as the group approached the Corkscrew Road climb, with Farrar only noticing around 5 kilometres later that his derailleur had broken.
In a blog post on The Peloton Brief, Farrar said: “In 14 years as a professional this was the first time I’ve ever had this experience.
“I couldn’t stop saying thank you over and over again. He saved my tour. I really didn’t want to come to Australia to do 2.5 days of racing. It’s a pretty cool look into how nice people in Australia are.
He added: “He’s gonna love his new Strava record on Corkscrew now. Thanks man!”
Dimension Data have given Mr Tooman a full set of team kit for his help, and he later posted a picture of it to Instagram.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.