Belfast Telegraph

Thomas, Porte crash casualties as Froome stays ahead on Tour

By Ian Parker

Rigoberto Uran won a chaotic, incident-strewn stage nine of the Tour de France which saw Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte crash out while Chris Froome came home third and extended his lead in the yellow jersey.

Uran took victory in a photo finish ahead of Warren Barguil - one final twist of drama on a day that will live long in Tour history.

Thomas suffered a broken collarbone in a crash on the damp descent of the Col de la Biche, while Porte went down in a frightening incident on the descent of the Mont du Chat - the last of seven categorised climbs on a brutal 181.5 kilometre stage from Nantua to Chambery.

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.

With four bonus seconds on the line for third place, Froome extended his lead over Aru to 18 seconds. However, he has lost his rear-gunner as Thomas started the day second overall.

Bardet is up to third overall, 51 seconds down, four seconds ahead of former Team-Sky man Uran.

Ireland's Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) was caught in the crash that ended Porte's race and then came down again later in the descent, losing fourth place as he slipped to sixth, one minute and 44 seconds down, 18 seconds ahead of seventh-place Simon Yates of Orica-Scott.

Porte was taken straight to hospital from the mountainside after a horrific high-speed crash.

The Australian had run onto the grass on the inside of a corner, then slid across the road into an embankment, taking out Martin as he went.

BMC sports director Fabio Baldato said Porte had remained conscious throughout.

"He had a lot of pain but we need to wait for the doctors," he said. "What was important, he was always conscious, he knew what happened. He was asking for his helmet, his glasses."

Belfast Telegraph

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