Misfortune knocks at Porte's door again in Tour de France

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Australian general classification contender Richie Porte is out of the Tour de France after crashing on the ninth stage.

"A lot of guys are better at one-day races, including me", he said. "We'll try to keep Richie with me for as long as possible, and if there's then a moment when I have to follow someone in an attack or something, then I can follow, and leave those other six guys to take care of Richie".

But there was drama in behind, with Richie Porte forced to abandon the race after an early fall, and four-time victor Chris Froome, Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Uran also hitting the deck.

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Much had been made of the day's trek across the much feared cobblestones of Roubaix as the 156.5-kilometer (97-mile) leg approached the Belgian border from its start in Arras.

After being involved in a group pile-up, Porte sat on the road clutching his right upper arm.

Prior to his crash, Porte was placed 10th overall, 57 seconds behind yellow jersey holder Greg van Avermaet.

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BMC confirmed that Porte has been taken to hospital for X-rays. BMC team-mate Tejay van Garderen also lost time after suffering a crash, while Romain Bardet suffered a series of mechanical problems.

Team Sky put the hammer down with 65km to go as the peloton fractured and at with 50km left van Avermaet (BMC) made his big move before crashes came from defending champion Chris Froome (Sky), Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First). "I think I perform at, and sometimes over, my limit in one-day races, whereas I perhaps lose some of my capacities over time in a stage race".

"We try to look for the end of the Tour to have some stages and enjoy the fun because of course the (title) and the podium is gone", he said.

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