Richie Porte devastated after breaking collarbone in Tour de France crash

Trek-Segafredo rider John Degenkolb of Germany wins the stage

And that's how we all feel after Richie Porte tragically crashed out of the Tour de France less than 10 kilometres into the start of stage nine in Arras.

The BMC Racing rider, who also crashed out of the Tour past year, was one of the main contenders to finish on the podium in Paris.

Van Avermaet kept hold of the overall leader's yellow jersey on a day when his team captain Richie Porte withdrew after a fall and the main contenders all finished more or less together. "I saw Gaviria and Greipel were fighting for position but I saw the finish line and thought, 'This is the moment'".

Former Sky man Porte said this week: "Sunday's going to be the roof shaker, it's all about Sunday now". Degenkolb won the Paris-Roubaix single-day classic, which covers much of the same course, in 2015.

"It was a pretty hectic day", Van Avermaet said after the dust settled. "I followed Sagan, but following him is pretty sketchy - he bashes everyone else out the way so you do get a clear run following him".

The last kilometers were fighting for victory only three people: John Degenkolb, Eve Lampart with Quick-Step Floors and Greg van Avermat from the BMC, however, strongest at the finish was exactly Degenkolb.

Martin dodged the carnage which ended Richie Porte's race and caught out Chris Froome, Rigoberto Uran and Romain Bardet among others, and managed to come out smiling.

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France's Romain Bardet, who was third overall previous year, suffered three punctures but managed to limit the damage, only losing seven seconds to Froome and the four-time champion's Sky team mate Geraint Thomas.

It was an impressive performance from Bardet to limit his losses, given the AG2R La Mondiale rider suffered three punctures during the stage.

"It is very emotional, I went through such a hard period so today is pure happiness", said Degenkolb, who suffered several fractures and a serious finger injury after he and some team mates were hit by a auto during a training ride in January 2016.

"I've waited for this victory for so long", said Degenkolb, after his maiden stage win at the race.

"From what we know at this point, it looks like a straightforward injury and one that is quite common in cycling", Max Testa, BMC Racing Team chief medical officer, said later Sunday.

In the General classification, van Avermat has maintained its leadership, its separation from British Geraint Thomas (Sky) was increased to 43 seconds.

After the first rest day Monday, the Tour resumes in the Alps on Tuesday with a 98.5-mile leg from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand featuring three Category 1 climbs and one beyond-category ascent.

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