Tony Martin retained the yellow jersey at the Tour de France on stage six, but a nasty crash one kilometre from the finish line ended his participation in the race.
The Etixx-Quick-Step rider went down hard when he clipped the wheel of a Europcar rider on his inside – a crash which brought down 2014 Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali and held up dozens of others.
While Nibali seemed unscathed as he got back on his bike, Martin looked in a lot more trouble, cradling his left arm and was later diagnosed with a broken collarbone.
Later, Etixx took to Twitter to confirm that Martin had pulled out of the race as his injuries require surgery. It is the second time this week that the yellow jersey holder has sustained injuries that have forced him out of a race, after Fabian Cancellara broke two vertebrae on stage three.
With the crash coming inside the final 3km, the German was free to take his time before getting back on the bike – knowing he’d be given the same time as the group he was in when the incident occurred.
But as he rode up the final climb of the day he was flanked by teammates, keeping him steady as he continued to cradle his arm. World champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Etixx teammate Julien Vermote were either side of Martin to help him stay upright.
Martin’s colleague Zdenek Stybar broke free of the small remaining bunch at the front of the race and soloed to the stage win, but there will be mixed emotions in the Etixx camp tonight.