PORTE CRASHES OUT
THE rider caught up in Richie Porte’s horrifying high- speed crash has criticised Tour de France organisers for the technical Mont du Chat descent.
Australian title hope Porte has a fractured pelvis, a broken collarbone, extensive abrasions and shattered dreams following the sickening crash at about 70km/ h which ended his tour.
Dan Martin went down in the same crash — the last descent of a brutal day in the Alps — and the Irish rider had a dig about the inclusion of the treacherous section after recovering to finish the stage in ninth place.
“It’s so slippery and I guess the organisers got what they wanted ... it was so slippery under the trees,” Martin said.
“Richie locked up his back wheel, went straight into the grass, just wiped out, and his bike just collected me. I had nowhere to go.
“We take the risks, but for sure today the route didn’t help with the rain.”
There were immediate fears for Porte’s health after one of the worst crashes seen on the tour.
But he was conscious throughout and his BMC team is hopeful the Australian star will not need surgery and could even return later this season.
“He remembered everything that happened before and after the crash,” team doctor Max Testa said.
Physically Porte will need about four to six weeks off the bike, provided there are no complications.
For now, the effects of such a devastating crash on his morale and confidence are unknown.
Porte also crashed out of last year’s Rio Olympics road race on the final descent, again when he was among the leaders, and suffered a broken scapula.
After the best season of his career, the 32- year- old was the strongest rider going into the Tour, making it the first time since Cadel Evans’ defence of his historic 2011 title that Australia had a realistic title hope. The Tasmanian had some problems in the opening week, including minor injuries in a stage- two crash.
But he was well- placed at fifth overall, 39 seconds behind Chris Froome.
The crash is the latest — and worst — chapter of Porte’s wretched luck at the Tour. Last year he finished a career- best fifth at the race, but it could have been second had he not suffered a crucial puncture in the opening week.
Colombian Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale- Drapac won the 181.5km stage from Nantua to Chambery in a photo finish with French rider Warren Barguil ( Sunweb).
Team Sky’s Froome finished third and retained his overall lead, 18 seconds ahead of Fabio Aru ( Astana), ahead of the first rest day and Martin is sixth overall.
SHATTERED: Australia's Richie Porte gets medical help after crashing in the descent of the Mont du Chat pass during the ninth stage of the Tour de France.