Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has abandoned the 2018 Tour de France following a crash in the opening kilometres of stage nine.
Porte, who entered the race in good form following a win at the Tour de Suisse in June, crashed in the first 10 kilometres of the race, before reaching the Paris-Roubaix cobbles which are expected to prove pivotal to the general classification standings.
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The 33-year-old sustained an injury to his right shoulder, which is suspected to be a broken collarbone, and was unable to get back on his bike.
It’s the Australian’s second consecutive Tour abandonment, he crashed in 2017 – also on stage nine – breaking his collarbone and pelvis.
BMC racing has confirmed that Porte is en route to hospital for examination, tweeting: “No one could have imagined this is the way Stage 9 would have started but we still have 7 riders in the race and we are behind them 100% of the way.”
Rumours suggest that Porte’s Tour performance will decide his salary when he transfers to Trek-Segafredo next year, sources say the team has added a clause to the deal that would have allowed him to earn more if he won the race
Several other riders were involved in the crash, Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) came down but was able to get back up and re-join the race. Movistar domestique José Joaquín Rojas was not so lucky, and joins the list of abandons along with Porte.