Froome lives to fight another day as Tour rivals go under

Froome lives to fight another day as Tour rivals go under

Froome lives to fight another day as Tour rivals go under

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 a year ago.

Britain's trio of contenders for the 105th Tour de France all declared themselves relieved to have survived a crash-ridden day on the cobbles of northern France, adding they were now looking forward to getting up into the mountains.

Porte, the BMC team leader, crashed out of the Tour 10 kilometers into the 156.5-kilometer (97-mile) leg - before any of the 15 cobblestone sections.

Froome, who is eighth overall after nine stages, is 1 minute, 42 seconds behind yellow-jersey holder Greg Van Avermaet before the first Alpine stage on Tuesday.

Romain Bardet endured a testing day as he sustained three punctures but, like Landa, lost just seven seconds on Froome and the GC contenders.

Overshadowed by the World Cup final and the Wimbledon men's singles final, Sunday's Arras to Roubiax Tour de France run, with its 22km of cobbled mining roads, has been foremost on the cycling world's mind all week.

Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Uran also took tumbles, the latter losing almost a minute and a half on the general classification group.

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"I was directly behind Froome and I saw Gianni go down, I just got around him, I kind of stopped, but got going quickly", he revealed.

JOHN Degenkolb has soldiered to a famous victory on the streets of Roubaix, standing tall at the end of a day of cobbled carnage at the Tour de France.

Degenkolb was always the more likely of the trio to win the stage due to his sprinting skills while the Belgian Van Avermaet was keen to take his yellow jersey into the mountains next week. Second place went to the Colombian Fernando Abra (Quick-Step Floors), the third Slovak Peter Saan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Porte was forced out of the race with a fractured collar bone after crashing before the cobbles arrived.

The Irishman, victor of stage six on the Mur-de-Bretagne, was one of several riders to fall with Quick-Step Floors' Julian Alaphilippe and Tom Skujins in the polka-dot jersey also caught out. "But I see the effort these guys put in, the months of preparation and wonder if maybe eliminating some of them just through bad luck is right".

Riders can then rest their backsides on Monday when the racing pauses before resuming with three stages in a row in the Alps.

BMC sports director Fabio Baldato said that with Porte out, and Van Garderen far behind, the team's only realistic goal is to try to get a stage win on the few remaining flat stages.

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