BRITISH hopeful Bradley Wiggins led a magnanimous stance among cyclists at the Tour de France yesterday, slowing down the leading pack after the race was sabotaged by nails spread on the track.
Wiggins’s close rival Cadel Evans was one of around 30 riders to suffer punctures, becoming stranded near the summit of the Mur de Peguere mountain.
Yet the peloton, encouraged by Wiggins, allowed the Australian to catch up and remain just three minutes and 19 seconds behind the event’s yellow jersey holder in the overall standings.
“There were so many punctures at once that it was obvious that something had happened… Waiting seemed the honourable thing to do,” Wiggins said after the race.
“Personally I wouldn’t want to benefit from something like that. I thought the best thing to do is to wait. If you can’t gain times on the climbs, then you don’t do it when someone’s punctured.”
Cyclists have been known to slow down for accident-afflicted rivals as part of the sport’s ethos.
Outraged authorities at the Tour are demanding police assistance in investigating how tacks were placed across at least one section of the road, yet Wiggins said that cyclists are particularly prone to such antics.
“There’s nothing stopping more of that sort of stuff happening. It’s sad. These are the type of things we have to put up with as cyclists,” he said.
The stage was won by Spain’s Luis-Leon Sanchez, yet the situation at the top of the overall rankings remains unchanged. Wiggins leads Sky team-mate Chris Froome by two minutes and five seconds. Vincenzo Nibali remains two minutes and 23 seconds behind, in third, ahead of Evans. Stage 15 will be raced today, with a rest day tomorrow.