• Bardet uses some force during the 2018 Tour (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The crowd on the Alpe d'Huez is always one of the most iconic images of the Tour de France, but there were several negative examples of crowd interaction during Stage 12.
By
Cycling Central

20 Jul 2018 - 7:49 AM  UPDATED 20 Jul 2018 - 8:58 AM

One of the big talking points to come out of Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2018 was the impact of roadside supporters on the race. At several points during the final ascent of the Alpe d'Huez, riders were inconvenienced or hit by spectators.

The most serious of these incidents involved Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) who fell as the result of two motorbikes and the crowd coming together. He got up and finished the stage but abandoned the race after scans at Grenoble hospital revealed a fractured vertebrae for the Italian.

Nibali out of Tour with fracture after crash with spectator
In the final kilometres, just as the race was in its last throes before the finish, the broadcast cameras came across Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) prostrate on the road next to his bike.

The Italian wasn't precisely sure of what happened in his incident, but video footage, posted to Twitter, appeared to show a strap catching the former Tour winner's handlebars as he rode past.

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) was leading the race when a fan running alongside the Dutchman and filming the rider collided with another spectator, causing Kruijswijk to have to take quick action to avoid crashing.

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) was a bit more preemptive in his approach to fans getting too close for comfort, fending off one fan right next to him and dodging a few others after he had attacked from the main group of favourites.

He also tweeted in response to claims that he had made an unsportsmanlike move in attacking in the aftermath of Nibali's fall. 

"In today's fury, the only information we really perceive is that given by our legs. To those who think that I attacked Vincenzo Nibali when he fell: my view of the sport is not that. I'm sorry about him. In this inflamed environment, we respect the athletes."

One of the more visible moments was when a spectator left the side of the road to go up to Chris Froome (Team Sky), appearing to hit the four-time winner of the race as he passed. Froome didn't appear to be affected by the incident and continued on the stage to finish fourth.

The organisers of the Tour de France, ASO, had taken more precautions than usual for the Stage 12 finale, with two police motorbikes preceding the group of the favourites to clear the way and the addition of ropes and barriers to contain the crowd on sections of the climb.