Tour de France 2017: Rigoberto Uran wins crash-laden stage nine as Chris Froome extends overall lead

Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas crash out of race; Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador lose time overall

Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) won stage nine of the 2017 Tour de France from a vastly-reduced front group, despite a malfunctioning rear mech, to win a stage marred by several big crashes.

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) were the highest profile riders to crash out of the race, in two separate incidents on the rapid descents, but Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished third to extend his overall lead.

– Geraint Thomas crashes out of 2017 Tour de France – 

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) were among those to lose significant amounts of time on the climb-packed stage, meanwhile, as both were dropped on the Mont du Chat.

– Richie Porte abandons Tour de France 2017 after bad crash on Mont du Chat descent –

Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) accelerated on the descent of that climb, but was caught by the five-strong yellow jersey group with little more than two kilometres remaining.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) led the sprint out, but Uran beat Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) – the last remaining member of the day’s breakaway – to claim victory, despite having been stuck with just two gears, big ring or small ring, after the descent.

Rigoberto Uran beat Warren Barguil in a photo finish to stage nine of the 2017 Tour de France (pic – Sirotti)

The stage was always likely to blow the race apart, and with the climbing starting immediately so did the attacks – Thibaut Pinot leading the way over the top of the Cote des Neyrolles.

He was still at the front over the Col de Berentin, but a 38-strong front group had formed by that point, including Warren Barguil and four Team Sunweb team-mates.

Crashes were a common feature of the day too, with Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Manuele Mori (UAE Team Emirates) were the first two riders to abandon on the stage.

Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Oscaro) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) also spent time on the deck as the composition of the front group continued to change.

Primoz Roglic was first over the Col de la Biche – the first of the three hors categorie climbs but the first major dramas were to come on the descent.

Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Astana team-mates Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) gave a warning of what was to come when they crashed in the breakaway.

And just minutes later, a crash in the peloton brought Thomas and Rafal Majka (Bora-hangrohe), with the Welshman leaving the race in an ambulance.

On the second HC climb, Grand Colombier, a four-man leading group established, with Barguil, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal), Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) present.

Four became two by the time they reached the summit, with Barguil leading Benoot over the top, while the yellow jersey – in which Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) had crashed and remounted – were six minutes back.

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas crashed out on the descent of the Col de la Biche (pic – Sirotti)

The front group swelled again on the descent, with Michael Matthews’ presence allowing him to snaffle maximum points at the intermediate sprint, but Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) went clear thereafter.

Barguil and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) bridged to the leaders on the Mont du Chat, but more drama was unfolding in the yellow jersey group as Chris Froome suffered a mechanical and Fabio Aru (Astana) immediately attacked.

The rest of the group, including Porte, Quintana, Bardet and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) slowed the pace, to Aru’s visible annoyance, to allow the race leader back.

Rafal Majka, who also crashed in the incident which saw Geraint Thomas abandon, bears the scars of the incident (pic – Sirotti)

Aru’s next attack blew the yellow jersey group apart, however, with Contador, Yates and Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) dropped, and Froome losing his remaining team-mates.

A number of attacks followed, but Froome stood strong and another acceleration by the yellow jersey group opened more gaps up.

At the front, Barguil led the way over the summit to guarantee he would claim the polka dot jersey, but the gap to the yellow group was rapidly decreasing.

Some momentum was lost when Porte crashed badly on the descent though, misjudging a bend and tumbling across the road after hitting the grassy verge.

Martin, with nowhere to go, could not avoid hitting Porte and coming off either, and though the Irishman remounted on a neutral service bike, the BMC Racing leader left the race in the back of an ambulance, in a neck brace.

Barguil was caught, and Bardet accelerated off the front on a descent he knows well, but the Frenchman could not keep the yellow jersey group of Froome, Fuglsang, Aru, Uran and Barguil at bay on the flat, final run-in.

It teed up a sprint finish, which Fuglsang led out, but Uran charged past him and – despite Barguil initially thinking he had won the stage – the Colombian was confirmed as stage winner in a photo finish.

Rigoberto Uran’s victory – his first since 2015 – was the third Grand Tour stage win of his career (pic – Sirotti)

Froome finished third, meanwhile, to put big time gaps into Quintana, who crossed 1’15” back in Martin’s group, and Contador, who lost more than four minutes.

White jersey Simon Yates, meanwhile, was also in Quintana’s group, finishing 11th on the stage and gaining more than two minutes on Meintjes in the youth classification.

Tour de France 2017: stage nine – result

1) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Cannondale-Drapac – 5.07.22hrs
2) Warren Barguil (FRA) – Team Sunweb – ST
3) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
4) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
5) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana
6) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana
7) George Bennett (NZL) – LottoNL-Jumbo +1.15
8) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Team Sky – ST
9) Daniel Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors
10) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar
11) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 38.26.28hrs
2) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +18”
3) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +51”
4) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Cannondale-Drapac +55”
5) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana +1.37
6) Daniel Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors +1.44
7) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +2.02
8) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +2.13
9) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Team Sky +3.06
10) George Bennett (NZL) – LottoNL-Jumbo +3.53

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