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

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

Misfortune struck Porte again on Sunday when he was injured in a crash at the start of Stage 9 and couldn't continue in the three-week Grand Tour.

Germany's John Degenkolb celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the ninth stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Arras and Roubaix in northern France on July 15.

Martin arrived in France looking to test himself in the general classification after defying two broken vertebrae in his back - suffered in a stage-nine crash - to finish sixth overall previous year.

The Tasmanian was left in tears on the side of the road after he crashed out of the race with a fractured right clavicle.

BMC's Greg Van Avermaet doubled his advantage in yellow to six seconds by winning the bonus sprint.

Most of the other leading contenders, including Chris Froome, Romain Bardet, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Richie Porte came home safely in the peloton.

The 109-mile stage features three beyond-category climbs - Col de la Madeleine, Croix-de-Fer and the iconic Alpe d'Huez finish after 21 switchbacks to close out the Tour's three days in the Alps.

Questions will be asked about the leadership issue at Sky after Geraint Thomas abandoned Froome when a mechanical failure saw the four-time victor crash late on.

While Degenkolb and Sagan may have carte blanche to race for the win, Van Avermaet may have to protect his BMC team leader Richie Porte.

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". "I followed Sagan, but following him is pretty sketchy - he bashes everyone else out the way so you do get a clear run following him". Lampaert finished the stage in third and fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert, who finished the stage fourth, jumped into the top three overall.

"It's a shame there were not more French in the escape but what can I do, I kept at it and with 50km to go and only a two minutes lead I knew it was impossible, but I plugged on because of the day", said Grellier.

In the General classification, van Avermat has maintained its leadership, its separation from British Geraint Thomas (Sky) was increased to 43 seconds.

Then the riders will enjoy a day off at Annecy as the first part of the Tour comes to an end.

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