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TOUR DE FRANCE

Tour de France: Winds slash kilometers off Mont Ventoux stage

Christopher Froome climbing Mont Ventoux, on July 14, 2013.
Christopher Froome climbing Mont Ventoux, on July 14, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Pachoud/Pool

The finish line for the 12th stage is 6km short because of gusts of wind reaching 100km/h - but that does not mean the climb will be any easier.

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The climb up Mont Ventoux remains a foreboding challenge for Chris Froome and his Tour de France rivals on Thursday.

The organisers of the Tour decided to shorten the normally 21km long final ascent of the iconic mountain due to safety concerns.

The move found support amongst riders, many of whom have already been complaining about dangerous sprint finishes and chaotic stages.

"It's the right thing to do for safety. Everyone wants to see a great show but the most important thing for the riders is safety," said Froome, who wears the race leader's yellow jersey and holds a 28sec lead over fellow Briton Adam Yates.

"To be honest I don't think it really changes too much," said Froome, 31, of the new finish at Chalet Reynard.

"The climb until Chalet Reynard is extremely hard."

This comes right after several prominent Tour de France stars have been hitting out at organisers for putting their lives at risk on the race's hectic stages.

On Wednesday, the peloton was buffeted by wind throughout the 162.5km 11th stage from Carcassonne to Montpellier, making for an uncomfortable day in the saddle for many.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme said: "The riders' safety is paramount.” He said he thought it would not change much in terms of the final “batte”.

"It's going to push them to ride even harder and faster. We didn't have many solutions anyway, we can't play poker - if we’d chosen to keep the finish line on top of the mountain, it would have meant taking the risk of the riders not being able to ride up there.”
 

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