Tour de France 2017: Froome loses 'rear-gunner' Thomas after brutal stage

Tour de France 2017: Froome loses 'rear-gunner' Thomas after brutal stage

Cannondale rider Uran came up with one final burst at the end of a gruelling 181.5 kilometres route from Nantua, which included three Hors Category climbs, and is now fourth in the general classification standings - with 55 seconds to make up on Froome.

Britain's Chris Froome admitted to mixed feelings after team-mate Geraint Thomas crashed out the Tour de France on a day of carnage that saw a series of spills shake up the overall race standings.

He won stage one of this year's race and wore the leader's yellow jersey until Froome took it after stage five. Porte was stretchered into an ambulance, his race over. Briton Froome's four bonus seconds on the line helped him increase his lead to 18sec over Italian Fabio Aru, who moved up a place to second with Thomas having quit the race. I've just seen the images of Richie Porte's crash and that leaves you with a awful feeling.

Welshman Thomas, who was second overall at the start of the stage, has a suspected broken collarbone, according to the Tour's official website.

Froome will be relieved to have safely completed a stage filled with hazards, but the loss of Thomas could be hugely significant with Team Sky left weakened.

It's the second time Thomas has been forced to abandon a Grand Tour this year after his early exit from the Giro d'Italia in May.

The two-times Tour victor Alberto Contador also hit the deck as he fell on the ascent of the Grand Colombier, but the Spaniard was quickly back on his way with a push from spectators. "Job done!" Like Quintana he came home 1min 15sec behind Uran and now sits sixth at 1:44, with Quintana remaining eighth but now out to 2:13 behind Froome.

"I want to thank the other riders, who did not attack", he added, saying he did not see Aru attacking past him as he raised his arms to ask for assistance.