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Froome takes charge but Porte crashes out

Aussie rider suffers horror crash

Chris Froome (yellow) finishes third to Rigoberto Uran (green) in stage nine
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Chris Froome produced a show of strength to extend his lead to 18 seconds on a dramatic ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday.

The race favourite finished third on a route featuring three top-catagory climbs on a day marred by a horrific crash that ended the race of pre-stage 11-2 third favourite Richie Porte.

Froome finished close behind 66-1 stage winner Rigoberto Uran on a day that tested his character as well as his speed and stamina.

It ended with the biggest market move of the first stanza of the tour. He heads into the first rest day as the 1-3 favourite, shortened from
4-6 after Porte's exit and after he gained 75 seconds on General Classification rivals Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin, who was also floored in the crash that ended Porte's Tour.

Fabio Aru is now the only other rider quoted at single-figure odds and the pair's rivalry stepped up a notch when the Italian winner of stage five attacked while Froome had his hand in the air to summon his team car for a technical issue that forced him to change bikes.

The yellow-jersey wearer did not take kindly to the move and appeared to barge Aru with his shoulder after rejoining the group. 

The Italian champion is second overall after finishing as one of the leading group of six who sprinted for the finish, but still lost ground to Froome who picked up a bonus for finishing third on the stage.

Uran is fourth overall and a 66-1 chance after his victory, while Romain Bardet is the new third favourite, cut from 40-1 to 12-1 after finishing fourth. 

Froome's day had begun badly when he lost one of his key teammates, individual time-trial winner Geraint Thomas, with a broken collarbone.

But the strength in depth of Team Sky means he will still have some top-quality help in the mountain challenges to come with top climbers Mikel Landa (eighth on stage nine), Mikel Nieve (13th) and Sergio Henao (17th) in his corner.

The race resumes with flat stages on Tuesday and Wednesday before a summit finish at Peyragudes in the Pyrenees on Thursday.

Britain's Simon Yates is 2-5 from 6-5 to win the white jersey for the top young rider after going almost three minutes ahead of nearest rival Louis Meintjes.

Two other riders - Robert Gesink, who was second on Saturday, and Manuele Mori - were forced out by injuries on the stage, while a group of eight slowcoaches were eliminated for failing to complete the stage by the time limit.

The headline name on the list was top sprinter Arnaud Demare, who had been a contender for the green jersey after winning stage five, but was struggling with an illness over the weekend.

Demare had been odds-on to win the points classification three days ago but Marcel Kittel is 2-5 for that category now with Michael Matthews a 9-4 chance.

Froome's day had begun badly when he lost one of his key teammates, individual time-trial winner Geraint Thomas, with a broken collarbone
E.W. Terms
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