CHAMBERY, France (AP) — Richie Porte, who was one of the top contenders in the Tour de France, has suffered a terrifying high-speed crash on Stage 9 of the race.
The Australian missed a downhill bend, cartwheeling across the road and bowling over another rider, Dan Martin, before hitting a grassy bank. Porte was stretchered into an ambulance, his race over.
Medics first treated the BMC rider while he was lying on the tarmac. Live broadcasts on French television then showed medics lifting him on a stretcher into an ambulance. Porte was in a group of seven riders, including race leader Chris Froome, who were descending from the last of seven climbs on Sunday.
Fabio Baldato, one of the directors of Porte’s BMC team, said the rider had shoulder pain but “was always conscious. He knew what happened and was asking for his helmet and his glasses.”
The head of the Tour’s medical team, Florence Pommerie, said Porte seemed “more scared than hurt.”
“That was horrific,” Froome said of Porte’s crash. They used to be teammates at Sky before Porte left for BMC.
Froome fiercely defended — and even extended — the overall lead on an ultra-tough day of high drama and punishing climbs in eastern France’s Jura mountains, surviving daredevil descents at speeds exceeding 70 kilometers (45 miles) per hour.
Getting through Sunday’s Stage 9 unscathed, arguably the toughest of this Tour’s 21 stages, marked a crucial step in the three-time champion’s campaign for a fourth win.
Froome placed third in the stage, narrowly beaten in a final sprint by Colombian Rigoberto Uran at the finish in Chambery, in the Alps.
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