Richie Porte devastated as collarbone fracture ends his Tour de France

"Obviously I'm devastated", said Porte.

It is the second year in a row BMC Racing Team rider Porte has been forced to abandon the Tour. He couldn't get back on his bike and was sent directly to the hospital in an ambulance.

Overall leader Greg Van Avermaet of BMC held on to the yellow jersey for a sixth day and most of the other leading contenders, including Chris Froome, Romain Bardet, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Richie Porte came home safely in the peloton.

He was also nine seconds ahead of Froome with the race heading south to the Alps and Pyrenees mountains where the Australian could exploit his climbing skills. American Tejay van Garderen was one of several riders to fall and had mechanical trouble during the extremely tough course.

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Martin of UAE Team Emirates lost around a minute to his title rivals.

BMC's Porte, among the favourites for overall victory, crashed long before the first cobbled sector, just seven kilometres into the 156.5km stage from Arras.

The trio had broken clear with a little under 20km to go, and second place was enough for Van Avermaet to extend his lead in yellow to 43 seconds over Thomas, going into Monday's rest day.

"No one could have imagined this is the way Stage 9 would have started but we still have 7 riders in the race and we are behind them 100% of the way". "Once again, we will try to keep looking forward to the end of the Tour and try to take some stages if it's possible as the GC and podium is gone".

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