Richie Porte fractures collarbone and pelvis in horrific Tour de France crash

Richie Porte fractures collarbone and pelvis in horrific Tour de France crash

Richie Porte felt he was lucky to have come away with a fractured collarbone and pelvis in a sickening stage-nine crash which ended his hopes of winning the Tour de France. "I did nothing at all when I knew that Froome was in trouble", said the Sardinian, who maintained that he did not see the race leader waving his arm in the air, in spite of the fact that he was immediately behind the yellow jersey. Porte skidded across the road before slamming into a rock wall and knocking Ireland's Dan Martin off his bike in the process.

He won the opening stage time-trial on July 1 - his first ever Grand Tour stage victory - and took over the leader's yellow jersey.

Flying high above the town of Aix-les-Bans in slippery conditions, Australian Porte was traveling at speeds in excess of 70kph (45mph) when he veered onto the grass and off the road.

Colombia's Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale-Drapac won the dramatic, mountainous 181.5km stage from Nantua to Chambery, France, but spectacular crashes saw Porte and Thomas taken to hospital.

And maybe Aru paid for it later too.

"So hopefully that's going to be the case for Richie".

But the savage stage that included seven categorised climbs, including the three steepest of the entire race, had taken its toll.

With fast men Peter Sagan, Arnaud Demare and Mark Cavendish all out of the race, Matthews has been presented with a golden opportunity.

"It still hasn't really sunk in".

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"I'm really grateful to them (the other contenders) for sitting up and easing the pace for a few moments while I was able to change the bike and get back", said Froome.

"He was responsive and he remembered everything that happened before and after the crash", Testa said.

He now leads Fabio Aru of Astana by 18 seconds, with Frenchman Romain Bardet of AG2R La Modiale third 51 seconds back. Nairo Quintana, three times a podium finisher on the Tour, says the descents are simply too dangerous.

First, the Tour lost two of its biggest personalities when sprinters Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan were involved in a crash during the race to the finish of stage four.

Also "hors delai" or behind the time cut were Dimension Data's Mark Renshaw and Quick-Step's Matteo Trentin.

A hill is usually followed by a descent, so there is some logic in that if the stage features its final 10km climb cresting with 10km to go instead of at the line, we see excitement for the last 20km rather than the last 10km as a frenzied descent ensues.

Italian Fabio Aru replaced Thomas in second place going into Monday's first rest day. But whilst the Australian was hurt - "it was more fear than damage" a race medic told French television - the Irishman could continue.

"I have a message to the organisers so that they think about the cyclists".