• Stage 9 ended in sprint finish with the best of the Tour. (Getty)Source: Getty
Australia's Richie Porte crashed out of the Tour de France on the descent of the Mont du Chat. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) was declared the winner over Warren Barguil (Sunweb) in Chambery after commissaires again had to consult the photo.
Cycling Central

10 Jul 2017 - 1:42 AM  UPDATED 11 Jul 2017 - 9:42 AM

As Porte surged assuredly again and again in the dying moments of the ascent on the Mont du Chat, we dared to dream. 'Our' boy looked strong on probably the hardest stage of this year's Tour de France. And we already saw him conquer the same descent just four weeks ago at the Criterium du Dauphine. 

But his and our hearts now lie in tatters with the news his Tour is over. We can't help but look at the sickening replay of the Tassie Devil hitting the ground hard. We watched to find out more, not because we are voyeurs but to make sure he was OK. We breathed a sigh of relief when we saw him talking as they loaded him into the ambulance. 

In just the vision available, it looks like it was rider error. But in the dying minutes of the coverage, we heard via the SBS team he may have had to brake behind Aru. Confirmation and ultimately fruitless discussion among the punters of how it happened is still to come. 

But as it goes in the Tour de France, other stories evolve and are equally as captivating.

Earlier, Geraint Thomas (Sky) too was loaded into an ambulance after crashing on the descent of the Col de la Biche, perhaps pressured by the blistering pace set by a fearless Romain Bardet (AG2R) and his swashbuckling crew. AG2R were faultless on today's stage, controlling the breakaway up ahead and behind.

Bardet managed to gap Chris Froome (Sky) and the other top GC favourites on the descent into Chambery and with six kilometres to go, had 30 seconds on the yellow jersey and looked set to win the stage. But Uran, Froome, Fabio Aru, and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) caught the Frenchman just 2.5 kilometres from the finish. 

Barguil suffered his own heartbreak after riding out the front in various breakaway compositions all day and celebrated as he crossed the line, thinking he'd bested Uran. While it was not to be, Barguil enjoys a healthy lead in the King of the Mountain battle after cresting the three hors category climbs first including Mont du Chat. 

Uran won one for Cannondale-Drapac, the team in argyle winless at the Tour de France since stage 19 of the 2014 edition.  

"I wasn't sure if I had won or not," Uran said of the close finish. "When I've been told I did, I've felt a lot of happiness. It was a big occasion for me after so many things happened today like the crash of Richie Porte.

"Then my derailleur was out of order. I managed to save myself and contest the stage victory. It's a surprise. I'm very happy to have won this complicated stage. It's also positive for the general classification. It's a great day for my team."

Dan Martin (QuickStep Floors), who was taken out by Porte, managed to get back on his bike and join the Nairo Quintana (Movistar) group to finish just one minute and 15 seconds behind Uran and the top GC favourites. Yes, Quintana went a bit backwards on Mont du Chat, but managed to limit his losses a little on the descent. 

Then there was Aru and the armpit incident. The Italian attacked on the final climb, and just as he did, Froome put his arm up upon suffering a mechanical. On reflection, it was impossible for Aru not to notice; he was behind Froome and looked to go right under his yellow armpit.

The man in the green, white and red was quickly neutralised by a gaggle of GC gentlemen set upon enforcing a set of unofficial rules nearly always inconsistently applied.  

That's some fight for the Green jersey 

Part of an early 36 rider break that was clear until smashed apart significantly after the Col de la Biche, Michael Matthews (Sunweb) buried himself to rejoin the leaders after the Grand Colombier, desperate to grab the 20 maximum intermediate sprint before the Cote de Jongieux. The only green jersey contender there, they were all his.

Matthews moved to 160 points overall in the classification, 52 points behind leader Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors). Not a pure sprinter and showing time and time again he can make it over certain climbs, the Canberran could prove a danger for the German. 

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