Car crash victim Degenkolb wins 9th stage of Tour de France

Australian Richie Porte has pulled out of the Tour de France after damaging his shoulder in a crash 10 kilometres into the ninth stage, a 156.5-km ride from Arras on Sunday.

"It will be a fascinating stage, and a really risky stage", BMC rider Greg Van Avermaet, who held the overall leader's yellow jersey after Friday's seventh stage, told AFP.

"I was lucky I was on Fernando's wheel, because that helped me reaching the finish line in third position".

"My shape is getting better by the day, I'm proud that I won again today", said Groenewegen, who won the final stage on the Champs Elysees previous year.

But the pave stage proved no problem for Degenkolb, a victor of the Paris-Roubaix in 2015.

"At the end of the day I won a stage in the Tour this year".

"It could be good if I went for it and the team looked after Richie", said the 31-year-old Belgian who won the Olympic road race title at Rio in 2016.

Degenkolb has previously won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2013 and won the points jersey at the 2014 Vuelta a Espana, but it was clear this triumph meant more to the delighted Trek-Segafredo rider, whose most recent Grand Tour win came in the final stage of the 2015 Vuelta.

In his stage-by-stage guide for BBC Sport, Mark Cavendish said: "It's going to be the first fight between the general classification guys but I don't see it playing a big factor in the overall result at this stage of the race".

Frenchman Romain Bardet suffered at least four bike problems, had to change bikes twice and used an enormous amount of energy to somehow limit his time loss to single digits.

"It's pure happiness. It's really hard to describe the feeling", a teary-eyed Degenkolb, who is participating in his sixth Tour de France, said afterwards.

General Classification 1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) 40:34:28 2.

Team leader Adam Yates managed to stay out of trouble and finish in the main peloton with Chris Froome and is now sitting ninth overall only one spot behind Froome and on the same time.

The BMC team leader broke his collarbone and pelvis in last year's crash and was faced with the same decision to abandon after today's crash. Yves Lampaert of Quick-Step finished third.

"It was just a bad-luck day".

The riders now face a long transfer to Annecy, but have Monday's rest day before the race moves into the Alps and the true battle for yellow emerges, albeit without one of its biggest likely protagonists in Porte.

  • Angelo Rivera