Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Porte and Thomas Crash Enroute to Chambery

An eventful stage 9 of the 104th Tour de France saw the victory of Colombia's Rigoberto Uran in Chambéry after a fierce battle in three Hors-Category climbs. In a 6-man sprint including yellow jersey holder Chris Froome, the Cannondale-Drapac rider took his revenge over Frenchman Warren Barguil who deprived him of a highly awaited success in stage 16 of the 2013 Vuelta a España at Aramon-Formigal. Robert Gesink, Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte successively abandoned after different falls.

193 riders started stage 9 in Nantua. As Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) was the first man to attack right after the flag off up the first hill of the day, stage 8 runner up Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Manuele Mori (UAE Team Emirates) were forced to abandon the Tour de France after crashing. A leading group of 40 riders was formed after the côte des Noyelles at km 5. It enabled Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) to crest the first two climbs of the day in the first position. After losing Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Oscaro) in a crash at km 17, the front group was made of Jan Bakelants, Axel Domont and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jesus Herrada and Carlos Betancur (Movistar), Bauke Mollema and Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo), Alessandro De Marchi and Amaël Moinard (BMC), Bakhtiar Kozhatayev and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Kristjian Durasek and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott), Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Robert Kiserlovski and Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Tiejs Benoot, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Matthews, Nikias Arndt, Warren Barguil, Simon Geschke and Laurens ten Dam (Sunweb), Nicolas Edet and Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), Thomas Voeckler and Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Pierre Rolland and Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Tsgabu Grmay and Javier Moreno (Bahrain-Merida), Brice Feillu and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Oscaro).

The 39-man leading pack started the first Hors-Category climb of the 104th Tour de France with an advantage of four minutes over the bunch led by Team Sky. Roglic crested the col de la Biche in first position. The three AG2R-La Mondiale riders split the group into pieces in the descent before Geraint Thomas (Sky) crashed in the peloton and abandoned with a broken collarbone. Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo), Tiejs Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) and Warren Barguil (Sunweb) rode away up the Grand Colombier. Barguil was first at the summit six minutes before the yellow jersey group and a 12-man group was reunited in the valley on the way to the Mont du Chat. They passed the intermediate sprint at km 126.5 in the following order: Matthews, Bakelants, Gallopin, Geschke, Benoot, Roglic, Mollema, Barguil, Navarro, Pantano, Vuillermoz and Betancur.

Bakelants and Gallopin went on after the sprint and rode as a duo to the Mont du Chat. Gallopin soloed with 33km to go at the beginning of the climb but Barguil passed him 6km before the summit. The Frenchman from Sunweb also crested Mont du Chat alone in the lead but got caught at the end of the downhill by Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) who rode away from the yellow jersey group after Richie Porte (BMC) badly crashed and abandoned the Tour de France. Bardet was alone at the front from 12 to 2km to go but five riders came across to him. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) launched the sprint from far out to repeat the victory he got after climbing the Mont du Chat at the Critérium du Dauphiné but Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) and Barguil passed him. Uran, aged 30, was declared a Tour de France stage winner for the first time in this very tight finish.


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