Chris Froome crashes OUT of Tour de France as title defence lasts just five days before third accident sees him abandon campaign

Froome lands on the opposite hip after suffering grazes on Tuesday, and falls a minute behind the peloton with his Team Sky team-mates for support

Chris Froome has admitted he is ‘‘devastated’’ after he was forced to abandon the Tour de France after three crashes in two days.

The defending champion was forced to quit after two crashes in quick succession on the fifth stage. Neither occurred on the much-feared cobbled sections but early on in the rain-soaked stage from Ypres in Belgium to Wallers in France.

Froome, who began the day suffering from a badly grazed left hip and jarred left wrist from a crash on Tuesday’s stage, wrote on Twitter: “Devastated to have to withdraw from this years TDF. Injured wrist and tough conditions made controlling my bike near to impossible. Thanks to the team & support staff for trying to get me through today.”

 

The first crash today, where Froome fell on his right side, did not appear to do much damage, causing just a few scratches. After a 10-kilometre pursuit he regained contact with the leaders.

The real damage, though, came a few kilometres later, when TV images suddenly showed the Briton standing at the side of the road, clearly in pain. He hobbled towards his bike, then wheeled round towards the team car, shaking his head. A few seconds later he was in the car, still wearing his helmet, while the French TV displayed a large banner along the bottom of their image: “Abandon: Chris Froome.” The Tour’s official medical bulletin later described his injuries as “a hurt right elbow, right hip and right wrist. Multiple grazes”.

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Chris Froome suffers his first crash on stage 5, his second accident in two days

Up-and-coming American rider Tejay Van Garderen described the conditions that led to Froome’s exit as ‘‘insane’’.

Speaking to the website Cyclingnews, he said: “It was insane. It takes the whole race down a notch when you have a big favourite who is now out. I think the ASO [organisers] need to rethink putting things [stages] like this in the race.”

Alberto Contador called the decision to race on cobbled sectors as ‘‘risky’’.

The Briton’s departure  means Team Sky will be forced to resort to using Australian Richie Porte as a back-up in their general classification plans – and will raise, yet again, questions about the absence of Sir Bradley Wiggins in their Tour line-up. Wiggins said: “Today has shown how hard it is to win the Tour de France.’’

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