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Froome drops out of Tour de France

ARENBERG, France (AP) - Defending champion Chris Froome dropped out of the Tour de France after crashing twice in a chaotic, rain-soaked ride in the fifth stage on Wednesday.

A day after hurting his left wrist in a crash in the fourth stage, Froome fell again early on the 152.5-kilometer (94.5-mile) route from the Belgian town of Ypres to Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut in France on Wednesday, scraping his right side.

Then, just before the first patch of cobblestones about halfway through the treacherous route, the Team Sky rider took another spill. With a cut under his right eye, he limped over to a team car, climbed in and left the race.

The team wrote on Twitter after his withdrawal: "Heartbreak for Chris Froome after another hard crash."

Riders were flying left and right on the difficult stage, and one even hurtled head-first over his handlebars on a cobblestone patch.

Marcel Kittel of Germany, the winner of three of the first four stages, also went down. Belgian Juergen van den Broeck and American Andrew Talansky crashed, as well, but they remained in the race.

The withdrawal of Froome, the main pre-race favorite, leaves the three-week cycling showcase wide open.

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali is wearing the leader's yellow jersey, but two-time champion Alberto Contador is only two seconds behind and could become the man to beat.

Froome had said before the stage that the biggest concern about the seven cobblestone patches on Wednesday's route was not riding over them, but the nervousness of the pack as riders jockeyed to get up front, which is considered the safest place to be.

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madkono July 09 2014 at 8:31 PM

whoever wins, will be another doped up rider!!!

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billcdaly July 09 2014 at 1:43 PM

I watch the race and still can't believe they ride over cobblestones.
To me this just invites crashes and injuries. Hey France smarten up. If the race keeps losing favorites, the TV audience will shrink.
No more cobblestones.

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1 reply
madkono billcdaly July 09 2014 at 8:32 PM

what audience???

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welcome big mike July 09 2014 at 3:08 PM

These guys ride cobblestones all the time. They have all done Paris-Roubaix and it is a badge of honor to finish it, let alone win it.

Cobblestones are part of European bike racing tradition and will always be.

That said, too bad about Chris. He had all of the elements in place to win again this year. You have to think that Contador, Nibali and Sagan are licking their chops at the prospect of a TDF without him....

So sad to see Froome and Cavendish gone, but that is the Tour.

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tucsonjl July 09 2014 at 5:10 PM

Contador is 2 MINUTES behind, not 2 seconds.

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alfredschrader July 09 2014 at 5:35 PM

His tires were too smooth - great for speed, lousy for control.

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Brian Workman July 10 2014 at 1:20 AM

Opps! I fell down and can't get up!!

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