July 15, 2012 – The Tour de France peloton fell victim to “one or two” nail-throwing spectators during the mountainous 14th stage Sunday, causing dozens of punctures at the front of the field.
Race director Jean-Francois Pescheux said: “One or two spectators had thrown nails on to the road, we don’t know why, but there were around 30 punctures altogether.”
Pescheux said the nails had been thrown on to the road on the final, steep stretch leading to the summit of the Mur de Peguere climb, 38 km from the finish.
“The nails were mainly thrown on the ground around 200 meters from the summit. Andreas Kloden, for example, had to get off his bike just before the summit where he was given a bike by (teammate) Maxime Monfort. “At the end, some riders ended up with two or three nails in their tires.”
Australian Cadel Evans, the 2011 champion, appeared to be one of the big victims of the incident. He had to wait at the summit for a wheel change for nearly two minutes and changed wheels again on the descent.
Luckily for the BMC rider, the Sky team of race leader Bradley Wiggins sat up and waited, allowing Evans and other riders to get back on to the peloton.
“Sky showed they are for fair play,” added Pescheux. “They saw that something had happened and they slowed the peloton so that things could come together for the ride to the finish. “There are always some idiots out there. What else can I say.”