Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) broke his front wheel with 5.5 kilometres remaining in Stage 6, stopping by the side of the road to get a wheel off teammate Simon Geschke before setting off in pursuit of the charging peloton. His team dropped back to help the former Giro d'Italia winner, but Dumoulin never made contact with the front group, finishing 53 seconds down on the stage.
The race was on at that point, and there was little consideration of the unwritten rule of the peloton to wait for riders to rejoin that had suffered unavoidable mishaps. Dumoulin got some initial help from his team car by drafting in the slipstream of the Mini to get to the back of the team vehicle convoy where his teammates were waiting for him.
Such was the big Dutchman's pace that he sped by Laurens Ten Dam, effectively rendering the lanky climber useless in the effort to return Dumoulin to the peloton.
The incident was captured by TV cameras and the race jury decided to issue Dumoulin with a time penalty of 20 seconds for drafting behind his team car. That raised the big Dutchman's time loss to a minute and 13 seconds.
“It was just bad luck," said Dumoulin after the stage, but before he heard of the jury's penalty. "I got a wheel from Simon as soon as possible and we tried to go as quickly as possible to the finish after that. I knew I wouldn’t make it back so it was about limiting the time loss.
"There was a movement in the peloton and I couldn’t avoid it. I hit the wheel in front and needed to change wheel and chase to the finish as hard as possible but it was very difficult. We knew that the first 5 days we were very lucky, but we also knew that bad luck could hit us too and it did today."
The incident break a charmed start to the race for Dumoulin, who was one of the few contenders to have avoided significant time loss up until this point.
Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2018 featured a great win by Dan Martin on top of Mur-De-Bretagne, and we meet some Aussies on tour.