Australian Richie Porte has pulled out of the Tour de France after breaking his collarbone in a crash 10 kilometres into the 156.5 kilometre Stage 9.
Cycling Central

15 Jul 2018 - 9:59 PM  UPDATED 16 Jul 2018 - 5:23 AM

Richie Porte has crashed out of the Tour de France for the second year in a row, falling again on his cursed Stage 9 after bowing out at the same point in the race last year.

The Australian cycling star was caught in a crash only 10km into the stage and Porte was quickly taken to hospital for x-rays with a suspected broken collarbone.

A spectator was also down receiving attention on the roadside after the fall, with her condition unknown at this stage.

Porte and the other title contenders were wary of Sunday's 156.5km stage from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix because of its 22km of cobbled roads. But his crash happened well before the first cobbled section.

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TV footage showed Porte grimacing in pain after the crash, sitting on the side of the road and feeling his right shoulder. BMC released a statement after the stage, with the team's chief medical officer, Dr. Max Testa addressing the crash and Porte's injuries.

"Richie has been discharged by the hospital and the diagnosis is that he has a non-displaced right clavicle fracture," said Dr. Testa. "He will need to rest for a week before he considers starting to ride on the home trainer. From what we know at this point, it looks like a straightforward injury and one that is quite common in cycling.

"We are expecting him to be back on the bike training in probably three to four weeks and potentially racing in six to eight weeks. We will continue to monitor Richie’s recovery and adjust the plan accordingly."

Porte was understandably disappointed about being forced to abandon the Tour de France, issuing a short statement via BMC.

“Obviously I’m devastated," said Porte. "For the second year in a row I am ending the Tour de France like this. I was on the ground before I knew it and straight away felt pain in my right shoulder.

I want to say a big thank you to my teammates for their incredible work over the first nine days. We had a great first week and I’m so disappointed that I won’t be continuing to Paris. I hope to recover as fast as possible and get back to racing.”

Several other riders, including Porte's teammate Stefan Kung, went down in the same crash.

Porte had spoken several times of his nerves ahead of stage nine.

"Even if nothing happens, it's going to be one of the mentally most draining stages to come," he said last week. "It's going to be, let's say, interesting."

Porte was considered one of the main rivals to British defending Tour champion Chris Froome (Sky), who is riding for his fifth title. The Australian was well-placed at 10th overall, 57 seconds behind race leader and Belgian teammate Greg van Avermaet.

The Tasmanian had also lost time when he was caught in a crash on stage one, but it was not disastrous, as he finished 51 seconds behind the stage winner.

Porte's goal was to make it through the Roubaix cobbles ahead of Monday's rest day and then a succession of stages in the Alps, where he would try to stamp his overall claims. His ultimate aim was to be the first Australian to make the Tour podium since Cadel Evans made history by winning in 2011.

Porte was also well-placed in last year's race when he had a sickening high-speed crash on the Mont du Chat descent during the ninth stage. He suffered a fractured pelvis and a broken collarbone but recovered well.

Porte showed he was ready for this year's Tour by winning the Tour de Suisse last month, probably the biggest title of his career.

He was on a high after he and his BMC team took an impressive victory in the third stage team time trial, referencing the difference between the current Tour and the previous one.

At 33, time is running out for Porte to stay a Tour contender. Evans was one of the oldest champions at 34.

Porte's disaster means the three main Australian drawcards for the Tour this year either have not started or are out of the race. 

Australian team Mitchelton-Scott controversially did not pick young sprint ace Caleb Ewan. Instead, Mitchelton-Scott has put all their resources behind British overall hope Adam Yates.

Australian star Michael Matthews (Sunweb), the reigning green jersey champion, also abandoned before stage five because of illness.

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