Defending champion Chris Froome crashed out of the Tour de France on Wednesday after falling twice on a wet and treacherous stage five.

The second time, the 29-year-old was visibly injured and was seen shaking his head and holding his right arm before climbing into a Sky team car.

That signalled the end of his attempt to retain the yellow jersey he won in Paris last year.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish had already pulled out of the race after he dislocated his right shoulder and suffered ligament damage in a crash near the end of stage one, where Froome had finished in sixth place.

The last time a reigning champion had been forced to abandon the Tour was in 1980 when Frenchman Bernard Hinault quit due to a knee injury, although that wasn’t from a crash. In 1983, yellow jersey wearer Pascal Simon was forced out several days after a crash and he would never win the Grand Boucle.

It topped off a nightmare two days for the Kenyan-born Briton who also came off his bike on Tuesday’s fourth stage. Television pictures missed his two falls on a day in which numerous riders crashed even before the feared cobbled sections began.


After his first fall, Froome was seen with ripped jersey and shorts down his right hand side, trying to fix a mechanical problem by the side of the road.

Blood and grazing could also be seen on his hip through a rip in his shorts. His Sky teammates quickly dropped back to pace him back up to the peloton.

He had begun the day with a splint to protect his left wrist that was injured in Tuesday’s crash. But the second time he went down, along with a teammate, Froome looked visibly distressed.

He stood by the side of the road holding his right arm across his body and making no attempt to get up and ride on. When he started shaking his head, it was clear his race was over and he was soon bundled into the safety of a team car.

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