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Chris Froome gutted after exit from Tour de France

By Matt McGeehan

Chris Froome revealed his despair after his Tour de France title defence ended on yesterday's cobbled fifth stage following three crashes in two days.

After the second of two crashes on the route from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hinaut, Froome withdrew to the Team Sky support car.

Froome wrote on Twitter: "Devastated to have to withdraw from this year's TDF. Injured wrist and tough conditions made controlling my bike near to impossible.

"Thanks to the team and support staff for trying to get me through today. Wishing @richie-porte & @TeamSky the best for the rest of Tour!"

It has been reported Froome began the stage with a fractured left wrist, suffered when the 29-year-old Briton tumbled to the tarmac on Tuesday's fourth stage.

Torrential rain and wet roads only served to make the fifth stage more challenging.

Race organisers removed two of the nine cobbled sections because of the conditions, but Froome's falls came prior even to the first section of cobbles.

The sad sight of Froome, dominant in winning the 2013 Tour, grimacing by the roadside was reminiscent of Sir Bradley Wiggins' withdrawal with a broken collarbone in the 2011 Tour.

Froome crashed early on the route before a second crash with around 70 kilometres remaining saw him end his defence.

He consulted Team Sky doctor Alan Farrell and sports director Nicolas Portal before taking his place in the Team Sky car.

Despite the atrocious conditions, which made for an epic day's racing won by Lars Boom (Belkin), Froome was the only withdrawal.

Just two of those left are Britons – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) after Froome joined Mark Cavendish in withdrawing.

Froome's absence means the Tour's wait for a first back-to-back winner since the disgraced Lance Armstrong won seven titles, all since removed, between 1999 and 2005 goes on.

Belfast Telegraph

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