- Tour de France
Froome retires from Tour after further crashes
Defending champion Chris Froome's bid to retain his Tour de France title is over after he abandoned the race following his third crash in two days.
Froome went down twice in testing wet conditions during the early going in Wednesday's fifth stage from Ypres to Arenberg in northern France, which was won by Belkin's Lars Boom with Vincenzo Nibali finishing third to strengthen his hold on the yellow jersey.
After the first crash 35km into the stage, Froome quickly remounted and was joined by his Sky team-mates, who dropped back from the peloton to help take him back to the front.
This time he landed on the opposite hip to the the one he grazed early during Tuesday's fourth stage, when two riders ahead of him touched wheels and brought him to the tarmac. He had suffered contusions and grazing to his left side and had an X-Ray on his injured wrist.
However, he soon hit the deck hard again with 67.7km remaining, before the riders had even reached the first cobbled section of the stage, and this time could not carry on, climbing into the Team Sky car.
Froome had started the day seventh in the general classification standings, two seconds behind race leader Nibali, who crucially put two minutes and 22 seconds between himself and two-time winner Alberto Contador by the end of Wednesday's stage.
Boom took his first Tour stage win in 3h18'35, giving Nibali and Jakub Fugslang the slip on the final sector of cobbles, which caused havoc throughout the stage with organisers opting this morning to remove two sections of them from the route given the wet conditions.
Nibali now leads Astana team-mate Fugslang by two seconds in the standings with Peter Sagan, the next closest challenger, 44 seconds back.
There were further crashes on Wednesday once the peloton hit the cobbles, with Garmin Sharp rider Andrew Talansky sliding off into a spectator after a tight left. He was forced to swerve to avoid Lotto Belisol rider Jurgen van den Broeck, who went over his handlebars but landed safely in a ditch.
This year's race has already seen Britain's Mark Cavendish pull out after he dislocated his shoulder in a crash on the final straight of the opening stage from Leeds to Harrogate.
2010 winner Andy Schleck was also forced to withdraw after crashing twice during Monday's third stage from Cambridge to London.
Stage five result:
1. Lars Boom (Netherlands/Belkin) 3hr 18min 35sec
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +19sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana)
4. Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Cannondale) +1min 01sec
5. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland/Trek)
6. Jens Keukeleire (Belgium/Orica)
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland/OPQS) +1min 07sec
8. Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands/Astana) +1min 09sec
9. Matteo Trentin (Italy/ OPQS) +1min 21sec
10. Cyril Lemoine (France/Cofidis) +1min 45sec
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana) 20hr 26min 46sec
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +2sec
3. Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Cannondale) +44sec
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland/OPQS) +50sec
5. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland/Trek) +1min 17sec
6. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium/Lotto) +1min 45sec
7. Tony Gallopin (France/Lotto)
8. Richie Porte (Australia/Team Sky) +1min 54sec
9. Andrew Talansky (USA/Garmin) +2min 05sec
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +2min 11sec