Rigoberto Uran won a drama-filled ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday as Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas crashed out.
Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey after finishing the stage third, behind Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) who missed out on victory in a photo-finish.
Froome’s four bonus seconds on the line helped him increase his lead to 18sec over Fabio Aru (Astana), who moved up a place to second with Thomas having quit the race.
Bardet is now third at 51sec with Uran, who took the winner’s 10sec bonus, fourth at 55sec.
But other contenders including twice former runner-up Nairo Quintana of Colombia lost more than a minute, as did Dan Martin, who courageously battled on despite being taken down by Porte’s spectacular crash, and even coming off his bike a second time on that same perilous descent.
Porte’s crash was the most dramatic as he clipped the grass verge on the inside of a bend on the lightning quick descent down the fearsome Mont du Chat less than 25km from the finish.
He came off his bike and skidded across the tarmac into Martin, clattering both into the rock face on the other side of the road.
Thomas had crashed on another descent, made treacherous by rain, earlier in the day, suffering a suspected broken collarbone.
It meant it was a bitter-sweet day for Froome who, despite increasing his lead and seeing several top rivals lose time, lost his chief Team Sky lieutenant Thomas and good friend Porte.
Alberto Contador was one of the big losers on the day from the 181.5km stage from Nantua to Chambery. The Spanish veteran cracked on the final of seven categorised climbs and lost several minutes by the finish.
Martin, though, produced a remarkable ride despite his two crashes to limit his losses.
“I managed to catch the group in front of me after I crashed the second time — I was flying down the mountain,” he said with a smile.
“After I caught Nairo (Quintana) at the bottom, everyone was committed and it was just a case of getting to the finish.
Tour de France 2017 – stage 9 results (Nantua – Chambéry):
|1||Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)|
|2||Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb)|
|3||Christopher Froome (Team Sky)|
|4||Romain Bardet (AG2R)|
|5||Fabio Aru (Astana)|
|6||Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)|
|7||George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|8||Mikel Landa (Team Sky)|
|9||Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors)|
|10||Nairo Quintana (Movistar)|
|11||Simon Yates (Orica-Scott)|
|12||Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)|
|13||Mikel Nieve (Team Sky)|
|14||Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)|
|15||Pierre Latour (AG2R)|
|16||Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R)|
|17||Sergio Henao (Team Sky)|
|18||Damiano Caruso (BMC)|
|19||Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|20||Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)|
General classification after stage 9:
|1||Christopher Froome (Team Sky)|
|2||Fabio Aru (Astana)|
|3||Romain Bardet (AG2R)|
|4||Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)|
|5||Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)|
|6||Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors)|
|7||Simon Yates (Orica-Scott)|
|8||Nairo Quintana (Movistar)|
|9||Mikel Landa (Team Sky)|
|10||George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|11||Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)|
|12||Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)|
|13||Pierre Latour (AG2R)|
|14||Mikel Nieve (Team Sky)|
|15||Sergio Henao (Team Sky)|
|16||Damiano Caruso (BMC)|
|17||Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R)|
|18||Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|19||Carlos Betancur (Movistar)|
|20||Brice Feillu (Fortuneo – Oscaro)|