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Tour de France: Pre-race favorite Richie Porte stretchered away following brutal crash

On Sunday, the Tour de France took a terrifying turn.

Richie Porte of Australia (BMC Racing), who came in as a the favorite, was involved in a brutal crash during the ninth stage of the race.

He was in a tight cluster of seven riders as the group descended from the final climb of the day.

The 32-year-old hit a collection of rocks, completely wiped out on his right side and took out Englishmen Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) along the way.

Martin avoided serious injury and was able to continue, but Porte needed immediate medical attention. On live French broadcasts, Porte could be seen being stretchered away in an ambulance.

His team was hesitant to give many details about his condition, but sporting director Fabio Baldato was available to answer a few questions.

Australia’s Richie Porte is carried to an ambulance after crashing in the descent of the Mont du Chat pass during the ninth stage of the Tour de France. (AP Images)

“I can only say he was conscious from the beginning,” Baldato said. “We were a couple of minutes behind, and when we got there with my eyes I saw him in pain. We need to wait for the doctor but the important thing is that he was conscious.

“We are all sad. Richie did a lot of work for this Tour de France since the start of the year. Recons, training camps, we did everything possible to put him on the podium. We put the whole team around him. For sure it’s sad. I hope he can come back stronger. He deserved a good result.”

Unfortunately, Porte’s collision was not the only one on Sunday, as Geraint Thomas of Team Sky also crashed out of the race earlier.

Rigoberto Urán won Stage 9, holding off Warren Barguil by just millimeters. Chris Froome extended his overall lead and finished third in the stage.