Geraint Thomas crashes out of Tour de France

Froome keeps lead but loses trusted lieutenant

Chris Froome and Team Sky took control of the Tour de France on Stage 9, as Froome's general classification rival Richie Porte (BMC), Froome's teammate Geraint Thomas and many other riders crashed out of the race.

A stricken Porte was treated by doctors before being carried into an ambulance and taken to hospital, while Martin picked himself up and finished the stage despite going down for a second time. Froome soon returned to the favourites before forcing a selection with Porte as the pair exchanged a volley of accelerations.

Long identified as one of the key days of this year's race, the stage through the Jura mountains, which had there Hors-Categorie climbs, was marred by a number of crashes, with Thomas and Porte the two highest profile victims.

Fuglsang, the recent victor of the Criterium du Dauphine, led out the final sprint before Uran - no longer hampered by that gearing issue - powered past.

It was a joyous and confusing end to a dramatic, calamitous, insane and at times perilous stage - one that will long be remembered in cycling folklore, for both the right and wrong reasons.

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Thomas had crashed on another descent much earlier in the stage and quit the Tour with a fractured collarbone. Fuglsang completes the top five at 1:37 while Martin will be relieved to have emerged from that frightful collision with Porte just 1:44 in arrears. He is now eighth overall, a massive 2:13 off the pace.

But other contenders, including twice former runner-up Nairo Quintana of Colombia, lost more than a minute, as did Dan Martin, who courageously battled on despite being taken down by Porte's spectacular crash, and even coming off his bike a second time on that same perilous descent.

From the outset the withdrawals came thick and fast.

Thomas started the day 12 seconds adrift of Team Sky team-mate Froome in second spot in the GC standings, but his race was ended when he damaged his shoulder in a fall.

Although the group went with Aru, they neutralised the Astana rider, and allowed Froome to get back into the group.

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