BY ANDREW DAMPF
ROUBAIX, France (AP) — The highly awaited cobblestoned Stage 9 of the Tour de France is underway and already has claimed its first victim.
BMC team leader Richie Porte of Australia crashed 10 kilometers into the 156.5-kilometer (97-mile) leg — before any of the 15 cobblestone sections — and was reported with to have damaged his collarbone.
BMC tweeted, “We are devastated to say that @richie_porte has crashed out of stage 9.”
Porte also crashed out of last year’s Tour in the ninth stage, on a mountain descent.
Porte’s teammate, Greg Van Avermaet, is wearing the yellow jersey.
Following a similar route of the Paris-Roubaix spring classic, the road to Roubaix takes riders over 15 troublesome cobblestone sections — the highest number since the 1980 Tour, covering nearly 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) altogether.
After the first rest day Monday, the Tour resumes in the Alps on Tuesday.
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