Craziest Tour de France moments from Armstrong cycling through a field to a car hitting a rider into a barbed-wire fence | The Sun

CYCLING'S biggest bike race, the Tour de France, begins its 110th edition on Saturday as the 176 riders set off from Bilbao.

The three-week event will cover 2,115 miles as the peloton travel from the Basque Country in Spain all the way to the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Across the 21 days of racing, there are often a host of astonishing moments that leave those watching in utter disbelief.

But there are some that stick out more than most.

From riding through fields, to cars forcing riders into barbed-wire fencing, to spectators causing mass crashes – the Tour de France has seen it all.

Here are six of the craziest moments from the race since the turn of the century.


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Lance Armstrong rides through field after crash (2003)

LANCE Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles were stripped from him back in 2012, months before he admitted to doping during all of his victories.

As a result, his wins have been struck from the record books.

But some of his most memorable moments cannot be forgotten – with this one perhaps the most outrageous.

During the ninth stage of the 2003 Tour, second-place Joseba Beloki was looking to put the pressure on Armstrong on the descent towards the Puy de Dome as he looked to close a 40-second gap on the American.

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But the Spaniard ended up paying the price as he crashed on the hot tarmac, forcing Armstrong off the road.

Remarkably, the Texan managed to keep his bike upright as he went straight off and into a field.

And, much to the astonishment of commentator Paul Sherwen, he made it all the way through the field before re-joining the small group for the last four kilometres of the day.

Chris Froome runs up Mont Ventoux without a bike after motorbike crash (2016)

FOUR-TIME champion Chris Froome endured very few difficult days during his dominant period as the best rider at the Tour.

But one of the most stressful of his yellow jersey reign came during the ascent of Mont Ventoux in 2016.

When a motorbike broke hard as it attempted to make its way through the swarms of fans on the road – Richie Porte crashed into the back of it and brought Froome down behind him.

The Brit was physically fine, but his bike had been destroyed.

And due to the chaotic scene, a new bike could not be given to Froome immediately, so he took off on foot.

The yellow jersey was seen by cameras running up one of the Tour's most famous climbs as he desperately tried to get to the finish as fast as he could.

Eventually, he did receive a new bike and rode to the end of the stage.

It initially looked as though he had lost his lead in the race, before the organisers changed the standings so Froome would not lose out due to the accident caused by a motorbike.

He went on to win the 2016 edition by more than four minutes.

Lance Armstrong brought down by child's bag (2003)

ANOTHER memorable Armstrong moment came in the very same Tour in 2003 when he suffered a comparable piece of misfortune.

Riding up the Luz Ardiden climb with his general classification rivals, the American's handlebar caught a plastic bag that one of the young spectator's was holding by the side of the road.

The incident caused leader Armstrong to hit the deck, bringing Iban Mayo down with him.

He got back to his feet swiftly as rival Jan Ullrich admirably waited for the yellow jersey to return to the group.

But shortly after re-joining his rivals, a pumped up Armstrong attacked and went on to win the stage by one minute and seven seconds from Ullrich.

He ended up finishing just one minute and one second ahead of Ullrich overall – before being stripped of the title in 2012.

Car crashes into rider and forces another into barbed-wire fence (2011)

THIS was a moment that came entirely out of the blue at the 2011 Tour de France.

A breakaway was riding through the quiet French countryside when chaos ensued.

One of the cars following the race swerved and knocked into Team Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha.

Flecha hit the ground and suffered some cuts and scrapes… but he was not the most effected by the collision.

The impact from the vehicle had knocked Flecha into Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland.

And Hoogerland went flying into a barbed-wire fence which blocked people from entering a field.

It left the rider with cuts all over his legs and he required 33 stitches.

But, while he lost nearly 17 minutes due to the crash, he still managed to complete the stage.

Spectator with sign brings down peloton (2021)

THE most recent of the six crazy moments came at the 2021 Tour de France when an idiotic spectator held out a sign which blocked the road and caused a mass crash.

The individual appeared to be showing the banner – which read "Go grandpa-grandma" – up to the cameras, but was seemingly unaware that the peloton were bearing down on her.

Tony Martin hit the sign and crashed onto the floor, causing a domino effect which saw almost the entire group wiped out.

The woman who caused the crash was subsequently arrested by French authorities.

She would eventually be fined 1200 euros after the incident was heard in court.

Mark Cavendish elbowed into barriers as Peter Sagan is disqualified (2017)

MARK Cavendish shares the record for most Tour de France stage victories alongside Belgian legend Eddy Merckx – with both men having racked up 34.

The Brit, 38, is heading to the 2023 edition hoping to move out on his own on 35 wins in what will be his final appearance at the race before he retires from cycling.

But he may already have the record had it not been for his crash with Peter Sagan in 2017.

On stage four of the race, Cavendish was sprinting on the side of the road when Sagan appeared to force him into the railings with the use of his elbow.

The Manx Missile fractured his right shoulder blade and was unable to continue.

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And Sagan was disqualified from the race by the commissaires.

It meant the 2017 edition of the Tour was the only one Sagan failed to win the green points jersey in between 2012 and 2019.

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