Chris Froome’s chances of a fifth Tour de France all but disappeared on stage 17 on Wednesday.
But his day went from bad to worse when he was forced off his bike by a police officer who had mistaken him for a fan.
With no space for team buses to park at the summit finish of the Col du Portet, riders had to descend back down to reach them midway down the mountain.
Chris Froome’s chances of a fifth Tour de France all but disappeared on stage 17 on Wednesday
But his day went from bad to worse when he was forced off his bike by a police officer
The gendarme appeared unapologetic over his actions as Froome reacted angrily
Froome wore a large grey coat over his white Team Sky kit as he made his descent alongside his bodyguard.
But with some riders still clambering towards the finish line, a gendarme mistook the four-time winner for a fan and asked him to stop, causing Froome and his bodyguard to crash.
Pictures and videos were plastered over social media as Froome reacted angrily and shouted ‘F**k you’ at the police officer, who appeared unapologetic for his actions.
Froome was not injured in the incident and rode away from the scene.
Donning a grey jacket on his descent after the race, Froome was mistaken for a fan
The officer tries to cool Froome down after he clambered back to his feet following the fall
Team Sky described it as a misunderstanding and confirmed he was unhurt after having his arm grabbed.
On Thursday the riders head out of the mountains with a 171km flat stage from Trie-sur-Baise to Pau.
It comes a day after Geraint Thomas and Froome were temporarily blinded by pepper spray that had drifted downwind after police had tried to break up a protest by farmers.
While Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford described the atmosphere in the Pyrenees as ‘quieter’, there is no doubt that resentment towards Team Sky’s domination of the Tour continues.
But with Froome conceding he has little chance of winning after falling further behind on Wednesday, that tension may ease a little.
Froome was wearing a grey coat over his white Team Sky kit which caused misunderstanding
After confronting the officer Froome then shouted ‘F**k you’ as bystanders watched on
Froome said the priority now was to make sure that Thomas keeps hold of the yellow jersey.
‘It was a tough day, an intense day, but I’ve got no regrets,’ he said.
‘”G” has ridden such an amazing race, he deserves to be in yellow and fingers crossed he holds it now until Paris. We just need to look after him now for these next few days.’
Race leader Thomas survived an attempt by a spectator to pull him from his bike, just as he attacked to increase his overall lead.
Thomas had to fend off a series of attacks to move further clear of both Froome and Tom Dumoulin, before pictures emerged on social media of a fan reaching out to grab Thomas by the arm as he accelerated towards the finish line.