Tour de France 2017: Geraint Thomas out after crash on stage nine

After several days of blazing heat on the Tour, rain came on Sunday to make the descents of this mountainous 181.5km stage treacherous, with Thomas one of several riders to fall in the early going.

After numerous attacks including from Aru and Porte, Froome dropped the other GC rivals, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Aru unable to stay with the three-time Tour de France victor. Briton Froome's four bonus seconds on the line helped him increase his lead to 18sec over Italian Fabio Aru, who moved up a place to second with Thomas having quit the race. "Richie will be taken to hospital for examination", said Porte's BMC team on Twitter.

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Thomas's departure from the 2017 Tour de France will be a big blow to defending champion Chris Froome, who would have benefited from his teammate's strength in the mountains - both later on Stage 9 and also much later in the race.

It was a fourth crash of the race for Thomas, who spent four days in the yellow jersey after winning the opening time trial in Düsseldorf last weekend.

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"He was conscious, it's reassuring, he is being transferred to the hospital", Pommery said. The Welshman sustained a suspected broken collarbone in a crash on the damp descent of the Col de la Biche, the first of three hors categorie climbs on a day expected to shake up the battle for the yellow jersey.

Later on the slopes of the fearfully steep Mont du Chat, Martin - who was sitting in fourth place at the start of the day - and fifth-placed Porte came to grief, when the latter fell and brought down Martin. Two-time victor Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) cracked on the last climb and dropped out of contention.

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Froome had his rivals - including Porte - to thank as the group neutralised Aru's attack while he was changing his bike on the lung-busting ascent to the Mont du Chat.


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