Tyler Farrar got into trouble during stage three of the Tour Down Under near Adelaide. He crashed during a sprint and ended up in a ditch, and his bike was wrecked. But a kindhearted spectator came to the rescue, handing over his own bike and shoes so Farrar could finish the race.
Farrar was travelling at speeds of over 40mph when he came off the road during the 139km stage in south Australia, and was left bloodied and bruised. He was assessed by medical staff, and looked set to continue, but a few miles down the road realised his bike was in no fit state to continue. The support team had driven off, and it looked as though Farrar was finished – but for the intervention of Anthony Tooman, who was following the race roadside.
Tooman, 42, told the Adelaide Advertiser: “We could see him on the side of the road, and asked: ‘Do you need a wheel?’ He said: ‘No, the wheel is not going to cut it.’
“Then it went to: ‘Well, what pedals are you running?’ He was on Speedplay and I was on Shimano, and as soon as that was decided it was just: ‘Well, you might as well just take everything.’
“Then the next question was: ‘What size shoe are you?’ He was a size 43 and I’m a 44, so we swapped shoes, he jumped on my bike, we gave him some water and … see you later.”
Farrar crossed the finish line 13min 7sec behind stage winner Simon Gerrans, and would ordinarily have been disqualified from the tour. Normal race rules ban outside assistance.
But the chief commissaire considered it an exceptional circumstance and took into account that Farrar was not in contention to win the stage or the race. Farrar, 31, will be allowed to start stage four.
A statement read: “Race officials have confirmed Farrar will be allowed to continue the race as an exception to the rule because a bad crash with several other riders involved created a hectic situation which meant neither his team car nor the event’s neutral service vehicle was in a position to provide assistance.”
The six-stage race concludes on Sunday.