Pre-race favourite Porte crashes out of Tour de France

Pre-race favourite Porte crashes out of Tour de France

Pre-race favourite Porte crashes out of Tour de France

Getting through Sunday's Stage 9 unscathed, arguably the toughest of this Tour's 21 stages, marked a crucial step in the three-time champion's campaign for a fourth win.

Martin crashed first in the incident that saw Richie Porte abandon the race, and then again shortly after when his brakes didn't work with a replacement wheel.

The Australian missed a downhill bend, cartwheeling across the road and bowling over another rider, Dan Martin, before hitting a grassy bank. We caught Nairo [Quintana] at the bottom and rode as hard as we could.

"Richie just lost it on one corner. I was very, very lucky to get away as lightly as I did". I just got a spare bike off the team auto and got going again.

Stage honours were decided by a rare sprint finish between general classification contenders, with AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet fourth and Fabio Aru of Astana fifth. "Job done!" Like Quintana he came home 1min 15sec behind Uran and now sits sixth at 1:44, with Quintana remaining eighth but now out to 2:13 behind Froome. "I managed to catch the group in front of me after I crashed the second time - I was flying down the mountain", he said with a smile.

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"It's a massive disappointment", Thomas said.

"I'm just thinking of the devastation of leaving the Tour and another Grand Tour", Thomas told the team's website. "It's just so disappointing".

Monday is a rest day and the fight for the overall title is set to resume next Thursday with the first big Pyrenean stage.

The 30-year-old had to get the neutral service mechanic to lift his chain into the highest gear so he could continue to the line, where a photo finish decided it. I've just seen the images of Richie Porte's crash and that leaves you with a awful feeling.

"Then my derailleur was out of order. It's a surprise. I'm very happy to have won this complicated stage".

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