LAC DE PAYOLLE, France (AP) — Adam Yates didn’t know what hit him.
On the attack in the Tour de France, the British rider was suddenly performing a somersault in midair after an inflatable arch marking the final kilometer collapsed and hit him during a bizarre finale to Friday’s seventh stage.
Yates hit the ground hard, bloodying his chin and bruising his shoulder. Still, he was able to get back on his bike and reach the finish shortly after his countryman Steve Cummings won the first of four stages in the Pyrenees with a solo attack on the Col d’Aspin climb.
“I had no time to react,” Yates said after getting his chin stitched up. “It’s a good thing it was just me on my own. It could have been a lot worse with the peloton sprinting at 70 kph (45 mph). … I can’t tell you what happened. The barrier came down.”
Fortunately, his day only got better. Organizers later revised his time and he rose to second in the overall standings, 5 minutes 50 seconds behind race…