CHAMBÉRY, France — Chris Froome fiercely defended his overall lead in the Tour de France on an ultratough day of crashes, punishing climbs and daredevil descents at speeds exceeding 45 miles per hour.
Getting safely through Stage 9 on Sunday in eastern France’s Jura mountains, perhaps the toughest of this Tour’s 21 stages, was a crucial step in Froome’s campaign for a fourth championship. The last descent of a day with seven climbs produced a terrifying crash that knocked the Australian Richie Porte, who had been fifth over all, out of the race.
Porte missed a left-hand bend, cartwheeled across the road and bowled over another rider, Dan Martin, before slamming into a stony, vine-covered bank. Porte was treated by medics as he lay on the tarmac before being taken away, conscious, by ambulance to a hospital.