BERGERAC, France (AP) — Race chief Chris Froome has described recommendations that he intentionally barged into rival Fabio Aru throughout a grueling Tour de France stage as “loopy.”

Froome, who leads Aru by 18 seconds after 9 levels, mentioned throughout Monday’s first relaxation day that he simply made a mistake.

Many race observers thought the British rider may need barged into Aru in retaliation after the Italian champion appeared to launch an assault when Froome had a mechanical downside on the Mont du Chat climb.

“It was clear to me I needed to change bikes immediately and it appeared that Fabio Aru accelerated at that second,” Froome mentioned in feedback offered by the Sky Staff. “I believe definitely within the peloton there is a little bit of an unwritten rule that when the race chief has some type of a problem that forestalls him from racing, then the group does not reap the benefits of a state of affairs like that.”

Froome later caught the Aru group however mentioned the contact with the Astana rider was unintentional.

“As soon as I obtained again to the group I believe the very subsequent hairpin we went spherical I misplaced my steadiness a little bit bit and swerved to the appropriate,” he mentioned. “Aru occurred to be on my proper and he needed to swerve as properly. It was a real mistake and I believe Fabio was the primary to acknowledge that. I apologized immediately on the street as quickly because it occurred.

“Any suggestion that it was on function is simply loopy. To start with, it isn’t something I’d ever do, and I used to be already on my spare bike, so to threat placing my derailleur into Aru’s entrance wheel – it is simply loopy. I would not threat that in any respect.”

Sunday’s stage to Chambery was crammed with drama and crashes. Amongst those that didn’t end the stage was Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas, who retired with a fractured pelvis and collarbone, together with concussion.

“It is a large blow to the crew,” Froome mentioned.

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