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Tour de France stage neutralised after mass crash in opening kilometres

British champion Fred Wright and third-placed Jai Hindley were among the riders to hit the deck, while Romain Bardet and James Shaw abandoned after a later crash

Stage 14 of this year’s Tour de France was neutralised following a mass crash which brought down at least 20 riders, including British champion Fred Wright and third-placed Jai Hindley, and saw South African climber Louis Meintjes and Movistar rider Antonio Pedrero abandon the race.

Intermarché’s Meintjes, who started the day in 13th overall, is reported to have sustained a broken collarbone in the crash. EF Education-EasyPost’s Esteban Chaves, after briefly attempting to ride on, also abandoned the Tour due to his injuries.

A separate crash, which took place on the descent of the first climb after the race got back underway, brought down French hope Romain Bardet and EF’s British rider James Shaw, who appeared to land on the other side of a wall at the side of the road, with both riders leaving the race in pain.

James Shaw abandons 2023 Tour de France, stage 14 (GCN)

The abandon will come as a kick in the teeth to 27-year-old Shaw, who has been impressive throughout his debut Tour, finishing fifth on the Pyrenean stage to Cauterets and seventh on yesterday’s summit finish at Grand Colombier.

> “It’s like I’m going into the void with no control”: Tour de France pro says he feels “completely paralysed” and “scared to death” on descents

The initial pile-up, which took place on a winding, slightly damp descent during the opening six kilometres of today’s mountainous stage between Annemasse and Morzine, is the first mass crash of this year’s Tour, and forced the race organisers to neutralise the stage, allowing the Tour’s medical staff to properly focus their attention on the impacted riders.

Along with Meintjes, Wright, Hindley, and Pedrero, Ineos Grenadiers rider Dani Martínez also fell in the serious-looking crash, which occurred as the breakaway struggled to establish itself and the pace began to ramp up after a relatively sleepy start to the stage.

Lotto Dstny’s Frederik Frison appeared to be suffering from his injuries, but got back on his bike, as did the unfortunate Meintjes’ Intermarché teammate Adrien Petit, who appeared to have a nasty gash on his leg.

Jumbo-Visma’s Wilco Kelderman, a key domestique for defending champion Jonas Vingegaard, also seemed to be struggling in the aftermath of the crash, but soon recovered to add to the team’s firepower on the climbs to come.

2023 Tour de France stage 14 neutralisation (GCN)

Retired pro Jens Voigt, reporting on the race from a motorbike for GCN-Eurosport, said during the broadcast: “It’s chaos, as we had the first mass crash of this year’s Tour de France. The road is dry, wet, dry, wet, and the danger is that after weeks of dry weather, the first drops of rain and dust from the road makes the road super slippery… As soon as you touch the brake, it’s like ice.”

Voigt continued: “Every single director I’ve been talking to says it was a good decision to neutralise the race. More or less every team had somebody involved in the crash. Two abandons, and there’s a lot of bandages and rips in jerseys.”

Pogacar bored during THE neutralisation of stage 14 of the 2023 Tour de France (GCN)

The race was neutralised for approximately twenty minutes, to avoid stretching the race’s medical resources, and got back underway on the first categorised climb of the day, the Cat Three Col de Saxel.

How the rest of the race unfolded

That impromptu period of respite – which, it seemed, appeared to bore white jersey Tadej Pogačar – did little to dull what was a frenetic, drama-filled stage. After Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma team set a relentless pace on the front of the peloton, restricting the advantage of the doomed breakaway to less than a minute throughout the stage, the action erupted on the fearsome Col de Joux Plane.

Adam Yates’ scintillating pace blew the GC group to shreds, and set up his UAE Team Emirates leader Pogačar for an attack four kilometres from the summit, which seemed to put Vingegaard into immediate trouble.

However, just as on the Puy de Dôme last Sunday, the yellow jersey grimly managed to keep his Slovenian rival within touching distance for a few kilometres – but this time Vingegaard crucially clawed his way back up to Pogačar’s back wheel.

Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard, stage 14, 2023 Tour de France (A.S.O./Charly Lopez)

He’s behind you… (A.S.O./Charly Lopez)

Then, with the Tour’s two dominant figures riding side-by-side, and the top of the climb, and crucial bonus seconds, in sight, chaos reigned: Pogačar launched a blistering attack 500 metres from the top, but was thwarted by the race motorbikes, hindered by the encroaching crowds and acting as an inadvertent barrier to the white jersey’s policy of chipping seconds off Vingegaard’s lead. Perhaps that spot of typical Tour turmoil unsettled Pogačar, for it was the Dane who sprinted to take the bonus.

A protracted stalemate on the plateau at the top allowed Yates and Ineos Grenadiers rider Carlos Rodríguez – themselves hindered by road-blocking motorbike riders – to slip back into contention. And, as the breakneck descent into Morzine began, Rodríguez slipped away, making up for teammate Tom Pidcock’s sudden fall from the GC race earlier in the day to take a breakthrough career win and move up to third overall in the process.

Carlos Rodriguez wins stage 14 of the 2023 Tour de France (A.S.O./Pauline Ballet)

(A.S.O./Pauline Ballet)

Back at the Pog v Jonas show, the Slovenian nabbed second place, and its accompanying two second advantage over third-placed Vingegaard, ensuring that a stage filled with action and drama saw just one second – in the Dane’s favour – eked out in the race for yellow.

As you were, then.

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Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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