Porte KO’d by horror crash at 45mph and Sky’s Thomas ruled out too
Mountain mayhem ruled the day at the tour de France as Chris Froome threaded his way through broken bikes and broken bones to increase his overall lead by four seconds.
But while Froome breathed a sigh of relief after stage nine — one so savage that even the race doctor’s medical car was smeared with blood — his rivals were left licking their wounds, particularly Richie Porte who went out of the tour after a high- speed horror crash on the descent of the Mont du Chat.
‘ it hurts to see that,’ said Froome as he watched replays of Porte’s 45mph crash. ‘it was terrible. i just hope he recovers oK.’
But Porte, who suffered hip and shoulder fractures, was not the only rider to crash out. after his fourth fall in a week, Geraint thomas, winner of the first stage, was forced out with a broken collarbone after crashing on the descent of the Col de Biche.
‘Everyone was nervous, everyone wanted to be at the front,’ said thomas of his crash. ‘a few people were battling to get between myself, Froomey and the rest of the boys.’
thomas was brought down after the rider ahead of him slid to the ground. ‘i had nowhere to go, went over the top of him and landed on my collarbone,’ said thomas, who also crashed out of this year’s Giro d’italia in May.
‘i got back on the bike and carried on down the descent,’ he explained. ‘But when i got on the flat i knew something was wrong. So i ended up stopping, then i went for a scan and it’s broken.’
Sky rider thomas, although fully committed to Froome’s campaign for a fourth tour win, admitted he was bitterly disappointed. ‘i crashed at the Giro on stage nine and it’s stage nine again. i was lying second overall in both. it’s just so disappointing.’
Porte’s crash, on a dangerous descent made even more treacherous by rain, was one of the worst seen in recent tours. ‘i guess the organisers got what they wanted,’ said Dan Martin of ireland, who collided with Porte as the american’s bike slid into his path. ‘i don’t think anyone wants to takes risks, but it was so slippery. Richie lost it on one corner, locked his back wheel and there was nowhere to go.’
Froome added: ‘i’ve seen the images of Richie crash and that just leaves you with a horrible feeling. it was a crazy stage.’
Flat out: Richie Porte is treated for his injuries while (inset) Geraint Thomas puts on a brave face