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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Froome out, Nibali in command after Tour mayhem

Sports Shorts: Froome out, Nibali in command after Tour mayhem

July 10, 2014 10:04 IST

Sports Shorts: Froome out, Nibali in command after Tour mayhem

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Chaos and carnage rained down on the Tour de France on Wednesday as defending champion Chris Froome crashed out of the race on stage five and Italian Vincenzo Nibali seized control.

On a miserable wet day in northern France, Froome did not even make it to the notorious cobbled sections as his second fall of the day, following another painful spill on Tuesday, led to him quitting after less than a week of his attempted defence.

The batted and bruised Briton, who fell some 70km from the finish of the 152.5-km ride from Ypres in Belgium, hobbled around in clear pain before climbing into a Team Sky car.

"Obviously it's devastating for Chris and for the team. We knew it was going to be a tough race," Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford told reporter.

With crash after crash decimating the peloton, Italian Nibali powered away from Spain's Alberto Contador on the slippery cobbled sections, taking over two minutes on the Spaniard who, before the race, was regarded as the main threat to Froome's title defence.

The Astana rider, who took third place on stage won by Dutchman Lars Boom, now leads twice former champion Contador, who is 19th overall, by 2:37.

Boom is the first Dutchman to win a Tour stage since Pieter Weening in 2005.

 

Please click NEXT to read how Froome departed, Nibali powered ahead…


Image: Astana team rider Vincenzo Nibali of Italy crosses the finish line
Photographs: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

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Sports Shorts: Froome out, Nibali in command after Tour mayhem

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"It was a really stressful day and a very hard race. I wasn't thinking of the yellow jersey," Nibali told reporters.

"I was just focussed on riding the best I could. I'm in good shape. I've prepared for this particular stage but the conditions today were very different from those I experienced when I came and rode on the cobbles."

Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang guided team mate Nibali home, taking second place on the stage and is second on the overall standings, two seconds behind the Italian.

Froome had already hurt his wrist in another tumble on Tuesday and he looked edgy as the rain pelted down.

He was helped back into the peloton early in the stage after one crash which left him with some grazes but when he hit the tarmac again later it was more than his body could take.

After talking to his support crew and shaking his head, he limped to the team vehicle and climbed in.

Froome is the second high-profile casualty of the Tour so far after fellow Briton Mark Cavendish abandoned after a horror crash in Saturday's opening stage bunch sprint in Harrogate.

As Froome departed, Nibali powered ahead.


Image: Team Sky rider Christopher Froome of Britain rides in his torn cycling costume after falling in the 5th stage of the Tour de France
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

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