Nairo Quintana: “I grabbed the motorbike because it hit me”

Amid the chaotic scenes on Mont Ventoux yesterday when Richie Porte (BMC), Chris Froome (Sky) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) crashed after piling into the back of motorbike which had been stopped by crowds, a video has been posted showing Nairo Quintana (Movistar) hanging onto the back of Mavic motorbike on the climb.

Quintana avoided any questions about the video on Friday during the time trial stage but could not avoid the media before the start of stage 14.

“There was a moto and I went over to the right and then the moto went up on the right of me, I grabbed it because it hit me,” he explained to Belgian sports channel Sporza in Montelimar. “Afterwards, I let go of it and moved away.”

Several other riders retweeted the video. However, Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue, exonerated the Colombian.

“I find it funny… Let ‘s see if we are blamed… Nairo held onto so as not to fall and cut into hand. Instead, a very unfortunate decision of the judges benefited others,” Spanish sports newspaper ASreported Unzue as saying, seemingly pointing to the decision to give Froome back the time he lost in the incident.

Team Sky avoided any polemic. Nicolas Portal, the lead directeur sportif at the British squad told AS: “Surely he did it to avoid problems, either to avoid the traffic jam or a fall,” he said.