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Rigoberto Uran wins Stage 9 of the 2017 Tour de France in photo finish on a day defined by crashes

The photo finish at the end of Stage 9 was only a minor story on a day that shook up the 2017 Tour de France

Arrivée / Finish - Étape 9 / Stage 9 - Tour de... by tourdefrance

Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapc) won a crash-affected and dramatic day at the 2017 Tour de France. He took the win from Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) in a photo finish, after the latter was led towards the podium believing he'd won.

The biggest news of the day was the departure of both Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). They both suffered race ending injuires in separate incidents on a huge day for the overall General Classification.

The final descent, where Porte crashed out of the race, saw large gaps appear between the key riders of this year's Tour de France.

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) played his joker and went from the back of the group to the front, and then clear, as the rest of the descenders approached the corners with caution after seeing Porte go down.

Porte's crash took down Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) who lost time on GC through little fault of his own.

Chasing Bardet, who was chasing lone leader Barguil, were Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), overall leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Uran.

A debate began between the quartet as to who was going to work on the flat run-in to the finish line.

In the meantime, Bardet caught and immediately passed his countryman Barguil, who was joined by the Froome group.

The AG2R leader went hard on his own but with five riders hammering along and working well together, his 0:19 advantage with 6.8km left to the line may have been an unnecessary emptying of the tank.

That said, the joy of Bardet's riding is its aggressive nature and his love of racing, so chapeau to him for the effort and the entertainment.

Further back, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) and George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Mikel Landa (Team Sky) - who were put in trouble on the final climbs - caught up with Martin and started to chase their key rivals. Their loss looked to be over a minute and so their chances in the overall are probably over.

It was curious to see the other riders, all with a time deficit to Froome, help him bring back Bardet when they could have worked him over and isolated him.

Bardet was caught with 2.2km left to the finish and took his place in the group. Uran, with the use of only two gears on a broken bike, took up the pace making before Froome came through for a turn.

Fuglsang and Aru then started playing tactics, with the former attacking first and leaving his team leader to catch his breath.

Froome then pushed on and no one could come round his as they entered the snaking finish funnel. The sprint opened up and the top three was close enough for the confirmation of the winner to be slightly delayed.

Stage 9: A big day at the 2017 Tour de France

On what was being widely called the Queen Stage of the 2017 Tour de France - despite other formidable days ahead - the climbing began at the flag and barely let up until the latter part of the day.

However, as is the theme of this year's race the finish line was not at the summit of the final climb but instead a rapid descent off the Col du Chat and a fairly flat final run-in took riders to the end of 181.5km.

A huge group of riders forged ahead in a breakaway from the start of the day. Among the 38 to get clear were five Team Sunweb riders and they set the pace for much of the early part of the stage.

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) took the maximum of 20 points over the top of the Col de Biche which moved him into the virtual lead in the King of the Mountains competition.

By now the break had an advantage of 6:15 which meant that Carlos Betancur (Movistar) was the virtual yellow jersey by over three minutes.

AG2R La Mondiale, not content with following Team Sky around France for the rest of the race, lit up the breakaway and came to the fore on the yellow jersey group.

Coordinated attacks saw AG2R push the pace on the breakaway and the overal contenders' group at the same time.

The French team put three riders in the breakaway and rode away on the descent off the Col de Biche which whittled down an already reduced group.

Meanwhile, AG2R team leader Bardet came to the front of the overall contenders' group and showed that he is still one of the best descenders in the professional ranks.

On the same descent, Thomas went down hard and was forced to abandon the race as a result of his injuries.

Thomas's exit from the race will be a big blow to defending champion Froome, but he still had numbers in the group of leading contenders.

Too good even for his own teammates, Bardet could be seen beckoning them on as he rode away from the likes of Froome and Porte.

Aru and Martin were able to cling onto the rapidly moving AG2R trio.

Three Team Sky riders did make the bridge to the Bardet group but race leader Froome was not one of them. His chief lieutenant Michal Kwiatkowski took up the chase to try and bring things back together.

The two groups came back together and the advantage - in terms of manpower - swung to Team Sky.

With 83km left to the finish line, the day's breakaway - which had been big in number - was down to five leaders, all chasing the glory of a stage win and perhaps a couple of days in yellow if the time gap remained as it was.

Tiejs Benoot (Lotto-Soudal), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Barguil and Roglic rode one ahead of the chasing group around a minute back and the Froome group a further 4:30 down.

The Betancur led chasers rejoined the five leaders and this meant the Colombian was again the virtual overall leader on the road.

In that group was Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) who went at the drop of the flag, his main motivation being the green jersey points available at the intermediate sprint line.

This came after five categorised climbs so there was zero chance of the more pure sprinters being in the hunt.

The other riders in the group were Simon Geschke (Team Sunweb), Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo), Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis).

Matthews collected the intermediate sprint points and was then put to work for Barguil. From there Gallopin and Bakelants pushed on away from the other breakaway riders and soon had a gap of around a minute.

Matthews and Geschke were the first to pop, leaving Barguil with no support for the final 37km.

Aru attacks while Froome requires new bike

Aru attaque alors que Froome a un problème... by tourdefrance

Froome suffered a mechanical on the lower slopes of the Mont du Chat - it appeared as though he'd lost power to his gears - at which point Aru attacked and the rest of the favourites followed.

The contenders then slowed and allowed the stricken Froome to regain contact after a bike change in a commendable show of sportsmanship.

Aru later stated that he hadn't been aware of Froome's mechanical problem when he accelerated.

Once the Team Sky leader was back in touch Fuglsang tried his luck off the front and the others appeared happy to let him go.

Froome drew up alongside Aru and could be seen having a word. Not far up the road Froome and Aru touched shoulders and the latter almost came to a standstill near the edge of the road, almost colliding with some spectators.

The leaders on the stage attacked and counter-attacked one another, until Gallopin cracked and Barguil forged on alone at the very head of the race.

Some breakaway riders who were spat out of the lead groups clung to the GC group as it caught them but didn't look like threatening to play a part in the closing acts of a dramatic stage.

Among them was Vuillermoz who passed a bottle to his team leader Bardet and wavered around the back of that group.

Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) was the first of the team leaders to be distanced, soon followed by Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) out the back of the contenders' group.

Aru shot off up the road but soon sat up, which Porte took as an invitation to have a go. These moves put Yates in trouble but Froome, Bardet, Quintana, Uran and Martin stayed in touch.

Martin was the next to test his legs and those of his rivals, and Porte soon went over the top causing a lull in the pace.

Contador's stage and chances in the overall - already in question - disappeared on the upper slopes of the Mont du Chat.

In quick succession Martin, Aru and Quintana were all put in trouble and Fuglsang's advantage disappeared. Aru threw his bike all over the place but battled his way back onto the key group.

Over the top of the climb, Barguil was still the lone leader gaining enough points to go into the lead of the mountains classification.

All back together, Fuglsang, Froome, Aru, Bardet, Porte and Martin began the decisive descent.

Porte and Martin were seen on the ground after Porte managed to ride off the road, skid back across the surface and take down Martin.

After receiving some neutral mechanical assistance, Martin was able to ride away from the scene but Porte's race was over.

Race radio then reported that the Quick-Step man went down again soon after. Porte was seen to be conscious and talking as he was loaded into an emergency ambulance.

All this played into Barguil's favour as he was able to ride his own race at the front, unaffacted by the riding of any other competitors.

From there riders were chasing the stage and the chance of improving their position on the General Classification.

Tour de France 2017: Stage 9, Nantua - Chambéry (181.5km), result

1. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, in 5:07:22
2. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb, at same time
3. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky, st
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, st
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, st
7. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNl-Jumbo, at 1:15
8. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, st
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, st
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st

Tour de France 2017: General classification top 10 after Stage 9

1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky, in 38:26:28
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 0:18
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, at 0:51
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, at 0:55
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 1:37
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 1:44
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 2:02
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 2:13
9. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 3:06
10. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNl-Jumbo, at 3:53

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