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Estonia's Rein Taaramae, France's Tony Gallopin, Germany's Tony Martin, Netherlands' Lieuwe Westra, France's Samuel Dumoulin, Australia's Mathew Hayman, Australia's Simon Clarke, Colombia's Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle, and Germany's Marcus Burghardt, from left, ride in the breakaway group during the fifth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 155 kilometers (96.3 miles) with start in Ypres, Belgium, and finish in Arenberg, France, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The stage initially contained nine sectors of cobblestone roads dreaded by the majority of the riders in the pack especially under wet conditions, the organization decided to cancel two of the nine stretches because of the weather. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Boom wins 5th Tour de France stage as Froome crashes out
Tour de France » Defending champ quits after second crash in two days.
First Published Jul 09 2014 09:01 am • Last Updated Jul 09 2014 11:28 pm

Arenberg, France • Dutch rider Lars Boom won a chaotic, crash-marred fifth stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday marked by the withdrawal of defending champion Chris Froome after his second fall in two days.

Riders became wary of the stage full of cobblestone sections when the route was revealed last October, and their fears worsened when rain slicked the already treacherous path from Ypres, Belgium, to Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut.

At a glance

Thursday’s stage

Thursday, 6 a.m.

TV » NBCSN

121 mile » Mostly flat from Arras to Reims. The stage runs along the battlefields of World War I in a nod to the centenary of its start.

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Sensing the danger, race organizers scrapped two of the nine scheduled cobblestone patches, and reduced the stage by three kilometers (two miles). But that still wasn’t enough to stop many riders from tumbling.

Froome, already nursing pain in his left wrist from a crash on Tuesday, took a spill even before the cobblestones halfway through the stage. With a cut under his right eye, the Team Sky leader limped over to a team car, climbed in, and quit a three-week race that became wide open.

The team wrote on Twitter: "Heartbreak for Chris Froome after another hard crash."

The last time a defending champion abandoned the Tour was five-time winner Bernard Hinault of France in 1980, according to French cycling statistics.

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali was one of several high-profile riders who crashed, recovered and excelled on the 152.5-kilometer (95-mile) route. The Italian finished third and extended his lead. He and second-place Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark were 19 seconds behind Boom.

"This is a special, special day for me," said Boom, who rides for Belkin Pro Cycling. "I was really looking forward to the cobblestones."

Overall, Nibali leads his Astana teammate Fuglsgang by 2 seconds.




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