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GRAPHIC IMAGES: Richie Porte seriously injured after horrific Tour de France crash

GRAPHIC IMAGES: Richie Porte seriously injured after horrific Tour de France crash

GRAPHIC IMAGES: Richie Porte seriously injured after horrific Tour de France crash

Australian Richie Porte crashed spectacularly out of the Tour de France on a treacherous and costly ninth stage Sunday.

The 31-year-old spent four days in the yellow jersey at the start of the Tour, following his brilliant win in the opening time trial in Dusseldorf.

Froome's other rivals followed the Italian, seemingly in order to remonstrate with him and tell him to wait.

The damage from a brutal stage took its toll: Porte and Thomas were just two of around 20 riders who crashed on the wet, narrow roads of the Jura. I just don't know what Majka was doing. At the time I was too busy looking for my team vehicle to get a spare bike.

Stage honours were decided by a rare sprint finish between general classification contenders, with AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet fourth and Fabio Aru of Astana fifth.

Quick-Step Floors rider Martin got back on his bike after he took a new wheel from a neutral support vehicle.

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"Richie lost it on one corner - it was so slippery, I guess the organisers got what they wanted", he said.

Martin lost more than a minute, as did Movistar's Nairo Quintana, three times a runner-up in the race, while former victor Alberto Contador of Trek Segafredo seems to be out of contention after losing over four minutes.

Champion Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey after finishing the stage third, behind Frenchman Warren Barguil, who missed out on victory in a photo-finish.

Poland's Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) also crashed in the same incident that ended Thomas' race - and while Majka managed to ride on, he finished more than 36 minutes down to see his hopes of a high finish in Paris evaporate.

The numerous crashes led some to question whether the stage was too unsafe. "It's a surprise. I'm very happy to have won this complicated stage".

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