Ireland’s Dan Martin survived a brutal day of racing on the cobbles to Roubaix as Australian Richie Porte was forced to abandon the Tour de France after a devastating crash early in stage 9 which left him with a fractured right clavicle.
Today’s stage, a 156.5km route from Arras Ciotadelle to Roubaix with over 22kms of cobbles, was fraught with crashes saw Porte being the biggest casualty. Cycling betting odds suggest he was going to have a hard tour but it was suspected he wouldn’t finish.
Dan Martin,who had sustained injuries in stage 8, stayed safe inside the peloton, well protected by the team during the early parts of the race. As the riders began to split up along the road, Martin was carefully chaperoned to the front of the race by Oliviero Troia and finally delivered to the line with the main bunch after nearly three and half hours of chaotic racing on sections of road known as the ‘hell in the north’.
Having dropped down the GC standings in Saturday’s stage, Martin’s impressive effort allowed him to recover seven positions and climb up to the 24th spot. He is now just 3:22 behind the yellow jersey, with the Irishman taking the 11th spot and earning another 8 points in the green jersey standings. Stage 9 was won in a breakaway sprint finish by John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek – Segafredo.
Commenting on the day’s stage Dan Martin said:
“That was incredibly hard and I have a new level of respect for the guys that ride Paris-Roubaix. It was an amazing experience and – in a strange way – I loved every minute. It would have been nicer without all the crashes, but at the end of the day my bike was faultless, we made it to the finish line and we’re still in the fight for the podium. Even after the crash yesterday, the team still believes in me 100%, so I have to give it everything. I stayed relaxed and composed, made sure I ate and drank before the cobbled sections and hung back when I needed to, knowing that the team would help me pick my way back to the front when the time was right.”
Richie Porte of BMC Racing, however, has been discharged from hospital after his crash today and the diagnosis is that he has a non-displaced right clavicle fracture. He is expected to be back on the bike training in three to four weeks and potentially racing in six to eight weeks.
Speaking after his abandonment of this year’s Tour de France, the Australian said:
“Obviously I’m devastated. For the second year in a row I am ending the Tour de France like this. I was on the ground before I knew it and straight away felt pain in my right shoulder. I want to say a big thank you to my teammates for their incredible work over the first nine days. We had a great first week and I’m so disappointed that I won’t be continuing to Paris. I hope to recover as fast as possible and get back to racing.”
The peloton will get a well-earned day of rest on Tuesday before heading into the mountains for stage 10 on Tuesday. The 158.5km route runs from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand and features five categorized climbs, including Montée du plateau des Glières, a Hors Catégorie (HC) climb that kicks up to 11.2% and runs for 6kms.