Extreme Exposure: Fans at the Tour de France are wreaking havoc

Things get physical at the Tour de France as Chris Froome punches a fan, plus a paralyzed hiker walks the Appalachian Trail in this week's Extreme Exposure. 
Publish date:

In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Rachel Atherton extends her downhill mountain bike win streak to 11.

Getting Physical in France

The greatest cycling race in the world has seen its share of hiccups this year thanks to bumbling fans. So much so that the Tour de France actually released this video featuring riders reminding spectators to please respect their space. The first of two major gaffes came when a fan got his belt stuck on a cable that held a banner raised over the road. When it came crashing down it took out talented British climber Adam Yates, who suffered a wound on his chin that required four stitches and stalled out the race. Officials awarded Yates his time when the accident occurred and now sits in second after Stage 9 behind countryman Chris Froome. Froome had his own run-in after an overzealous fan got in his way during Stage 8 (below). Froome feared the man running beside him was going to get a flag he was holding stuck in his spokes so he popped the guy in the face to get him out of the way. He was fined 200 Swiss Francs by the UCI.

Image placeholder title

John John Florence Slips into Semis at J Bay

This one was a bummer for Jordy Smith. The South African native, who has won the J Bay Open twice before, fell victim to John John Florence in one of the weirdest heats of the year. With waves firing, WSL commissioner Kieren Perrow tried to get the quarterfinals underway this weekend but as soon as the first heat was in the water the sea went flat. After a restart (where officials actually reset the clock because of a lack of waves) the two surfers paced the lineup looking for any surf they could find. Florence ended up beating Smith on a 3.37. Not the way Smith wanted to end the only contest held in his home country. “Overscored on his last wave,” Smith said about Florence’s final ride. “Super bummed out. Not much I can do. But it’s not up to me it’s up to those five (judges).” Florence, who is in the thick of the world title hunt, was just happy to get through to the semis: “That was my favorite 3.37 I’ve ever gotten.” The three remaining quarterfinal heats have been postponed until conditions improve.

Image placeholder title

Rachel Atherton’s Streak Continues

At this point, Rachel Atherton has made it fairly clear that no other downhill mountain bike racer in the world can beat her. She notched her 11th win in a row this weekend in Switzerland. That makes five wins this year coming off six straight to end the 2015 campaign. The race in Lenzerheide over the weekend was especially tight, though, as Atherton slipped by fellow Briton Tahnee Seagrave by a mere .07 seconds. The 28-year-old Atherton is a runaway favorite for the world title.

Image placeholder title

Paralyzed Hiker Walks the Appalachian Trail

Stacey Kozel is proving that most of us have nothing to complain about. The 41-year-old Ohio resident is hiking 2,190 miles on the Appalachian trail. And she’s paralyzed. How? Kozel, who suffers from Lupus, which eventually took her ability to walk, is using a device called the Ottobock C-Brace, which covers the feet and extends its way up her legs. The braces are designed with a micro-processor that actually receives info from her legs and ankles, acting as a hydraulic system. Only one in four hikers actually finish the whole trail but that isn’t stopping Kozel, who much prefers being out there as opposed to a hospital bed. “Everyone keeps bringing up the 1 in 4 ratio of people finishing the trail, but I think what actually helps me is remembering what it was like in the hospital, not being able to move at all,” she said. “Just remembering that experience helps me with the mental part of the ups and downs of the trail.”