CHAMBERY (France) • Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte are out of the Tour de France after crashing in yesterday's181.5km stage nine from Nantua to Chambery which was won by Rigoberto Uran.
Thomas suffered a suspected broken collarbone in a crash on the damp descent of the Col de la Biche, the first of three hors categorie climbs.
Porte, who was fifth, slipped off the tarmac and onto a grass verge on the inside of a rapid descent in the final 25km of the stage.
He careered across the road and clattered into Ireland's Dan Martin, bringing the two crashing into the rocky side.
Porte was given immediate medical assistance. Tour organisers said he was conscious and speaking but was being taken to hospital.
Thomas began the day second in the general classification, 12sec behind his Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome, and his exit will come as a major blow for the three-time Tour winner.
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 Dusseldorf the previous weekend.
He had crashed twice while wearing the yellow jersey, first in an incident which also took Froome down during stage two and secondly in a pile-up in Mondorf-les-Bains, moments before the crash which ended Mark Cavendish's participation in the Tour.
The 31-year-old had come into the Tour after his bid to win the Giro d'Italia in May ended in a crash - caused by a police motorbike.
After several days of blazing heat on the Tour, rain came yesterday to make the descents of the mountainous 181.5km stage treacherous.
Three riders from the day's break - Movistar's Jesus Herrada plus Alexey Lutsenko and Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev of Astana - had crashed on the same corner as Thomas, minutes before the peloton arrived.
Two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador also hit the deck as he fell on the ascent of the Grand Colombier, but the Spaniard was quickly back on his way with a push from spectators.
Colombian Uran of Cannondale-Drapac won the stage from France's Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) after a photo finish. Froome retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS