Froome stays in control after action-packed ninth stage

Whether the timing was purely coincidental or whether Aru launched his attack in response to Froome being in trouble is unclear, but while other riders followed the Italian's move, the refused to help him, effectively neutralising the race until the yellow jersey rejoined them.

However, Porte's BMC sporting director Fabio Baldato insisted the team had come prepared, particularly for the Mont du Chat climb and descent.

Uran, who has never finished higher than 23rd in the Tour, climbed to fourth in the general classification, 51 seconds behind Bardet.

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) has been forced to abandon the 2017 Tour de France after a hard crash on a descent during Stage 9.

"It's a massive disappointment", he told VeloNews. It was stage nine as well. "I'm just thinking of the devastation of leaving the Tour and another Grand Tour".

Part of that Quintana group was a bloodied and bruised Dan Martin of Quick-Step Floors, who was involved in a horrific earlier crash that ended the Tour hopes of Richie Porte of BMC.

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'He was conscious, it's reassuring, he is being transferred to the hospital, ' race doctor Florence Pommery said.

Richie Porte gets medical assistance after crashing during the ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. I just don't know what Majka was doing.

Geraint Thomas was sitting in a Sky team vehicle, his shoulder wrapped in gauze, wondering if his 2017 season is cursed.

"I managed to catch the group in front of me after I crashed the second time - I was flying down the mountain", he said with a smile.

Froome suffered a mechanical problem on the Mont du Chat, the last of three hors categorie climbs on the day, and as the three-time Tour victor was calling for the team vehicle Aru attacked in a clear breach of cycling's protocol.

  • Michelle Webb