Chris Froome (Sky) abandoned the Tour de France today after crashing twice in the wet cobble stage to Arenberg. The defending champion fell the second time with 67.7 kilometres to race and got into team Sky's car.
Froome also crashed the first time at 35 kilometres into the 152.5-kilometre stage from Ypres to Arenberg, which covers seven sectors of pavé. He had yet to reach the first sector at pavé, which began with 68.5 kilometres to race.
Heading into the fifth stage, Froome sat seventh overall at two seconds behind Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
Team boss, David Brailsford said this morning that the team would also protect Aussie Richie Porte in Wednesday's stage should anything happen to Froome. Porte, who placed seventh in the 2010 Giro d'Italia and won several races last year including Paris-Nice, should take over the team leadership.
Only 18 hours before the cobbled stage, it appeared bad for Froome when he crashed on his left side in Tuesday's stage to Lille and injured his wrist. He said, "The wrist is painful and it’s certainly not ideal going into tomorrow’s cobbled stage." Today, under rain, he fell on his right side first and a second time at 85 kilometres into the race. He climbed into the car with Team Doctor Alan Farrell and Sports Director Nicolas Portal.
Froome already had problems leading into the Tour de France with a chest infection, sore back and a crash in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Despite the hiccups, he won the Tour of Oman and Tour de Romandie stage races, and two stages in the Dauphine.
Other riders including Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) also crashed at 70 kilometres to race.
Crash in opening kilometres of stage four on Tuesday leave Chris Froome with injuries ahead of Wednesday's key cobbles stage
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