Stage 9 of the Tour De France was nail biting spectacle. Talk about thrills and spills. With three long, brutally steep ascents where the riders were reduced to walking pace and corresponding descents made slippery by early rain, with more than 4,700 metres vertical elevation, and half the hors catégorie climbs in the entire race, this stage pushed all the riders to their limits.
Chris Froome lost his primary domestique, Welshman Geraint Thomas, and close friend and principal rival, Richie Porte, after both riders were forced to quit the race following slippery descents which turned the ninth stage into a chaotic demolition derby from Nantua to Chambéry. Froome retained the yellow jersey after the stage was won by the Colombian Rigoberto Urán.
The day’s official medical bulletin listed 11 fallers with a range of classic crash injuries: a shoulder dislocation and punctured lung for Manuele Mori, a broken vertebra for Robert Gesink, a dislocated kneecap for Jesús Herrada, who was announced as having abandoned but finished the stage. The 2016 King of the Mountains, Rafal Majka, was blamed for the Thomas crash and ended up with deep abrasions to both knees and elbows.
Travelling at over 70 kilometres an hour on damp roads, Porte lost control approaching a bend and momentarily travelled off the bitumen. His flailing body careened back across the road and into a rock face, where Porte collided with the bike of Irishman Daniel Martin. The later diagnosis of shoulder and pelvis fractures are miraculous. This crash could have caused far worse.
And that would be the reason MMT rides a bike with disc brakes and 28mm tires. Avoiding suicidal descents in wet conditions helps as well. MMT hopes Richie Porte and the other ten rdiers that lost skin, were bruised and broke bones have speedy recoveries.
Until next time ride safe avoiding wet descents at 70 km/h
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