Richie Porte crashes out of Tour de France with collarbone injury

Trek-Segafredo rider John Degenkolb of Germany wins the stage

Trek-Segafredo rider John Degenkolb of Germany wins the stage

"I'm really happy with that", Froome insisted after the riders prepared for the plane transfer south to the Alps.

The Tour continues Thursday with stage 12 to Alpe d'Huez, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here).

With all eyes turning to Sunday's Arras Roubaix stage which has 15 cobbled sections which date back to the old time mining era on the menu. The overall standings are sure to change.

Overall leader Greg Van Avermaet of BMC held on to the yellow jersey for a sixth day but after a mass fall held up around half the peloton 17km from the line Ireland's Dan Martin trailed home 1min 16sec off the victor bleeding at the elbow and with his Tour hopes severely dented.

Van Avermaet remains in yellow but it was an emotional day for Degenkolb as he recorded his first Tour stage victory having come close to losing a finger in a training crash in Barcelona in 2016.

"I'm relieved to get through today and looking forward to getting into the mountains now where the real race for GC (general classification) will start", Froome said.

Froome attacked as soon as Bardet punctured for the last time just at the end of the last cobbled sector, but the Frenchman, who at some points was lagging 40 seconds behind, benefited from huge pulls by his team mates Tony Gallopin and Oliver Naesen.

"It's unreal", Thomas said. The 2008 and 2012 Olympic track cycling gold medalist won the opening time trial in 2017 and wore the maillot jaune four days before Froome took over en route to his fourth title in Paris.

Michal Kwiatkowski crashed later, Mikel Landa slammed into the bitumen while trying to take a drink and Michael Valgren, Dylan Groenewegen and Niki Terpstra were also among the many to lose control on an incredibly intense afternoon.

But Thomas and Sky have played that down. "This isn't the bonus I was thinking of but it happens". "Froomey's won six Grand Tours".

Porte's 2018 demise means the three main Australian drawcards for the Tour this year either have not started or are out of the race. It was a case of waiting for everybody to be in the red, because I know I can go further into the red. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 218 3.

On a mixed day for Spain's Movistar team Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana finished with the main group and Mikel Landa made a awful error, falling off when reaching for a water bottle but only losing seven seconds in the end.

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