Tour de France race leader Tony Martin has been forced to pull out of the race after breaking his collarbone in a painstaking crash just 800m from the finish line of stage six.
The crash involved several leading contenders of the race, including British Team Sky rider Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali.
Froome tweeted after the race that he had managed to get away with just a grazed knee from the crash, but while Nibali and Quintana also escaped largely unharmed, Martin was not so lucky.
“I don’t even remember how I went down,” he told the BBC. “I touched the rear wheel of the rider in front of me – Bryan Coquard – but it’s the Tour, luck and bad luck are always close.”
While Martin took the worst of it though, the rest of the contenders involved were left far from happy, with Vincenzo Nibali blaming Froome for the crash and even throwing a water-bottle in his direction.
Froome was quick to deny the accusations, even being seen to approach Team Astana and Nibali after the race to discuss the incident, and tweeting:
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) July 9, 2015
The news comes just days after Fabian Cancellara, who was also the race leader at the time, withdrew from the race with a broken back, despite having raced on to finish the final 55km of stage three with two fractured vertebrae.
Martin’s teammate Zdenek Stybar moved forward to take the stage six win, while Froome, who says he won’t wear yellow today out of respect to Martin, moves into the overall lead.