GRAND TOUR SWEEP: Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin of Team Giant Alpecin celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the ninth stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France over 184.5km between Vielha Val d'Aran and Andorre Arcalis, Andorra.
GRAND TOUR SWEEP: Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin of Team Giant Alpecin celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the ninth stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France over 184.5km between Vielha Val d'Aran and Andorre Arcalis, Andorra. YOAN VALAT

Contador drops out of Tour as Froome maintains lead

CYCLING: While the reigning champion Chris Froome maintained the yellow jersey, another former champion in Alberto Contador bowed out of the Tour de France on stage nine.

The 2007 and 2009 winner crashed twice in the opening two stages, before ultimately calling time on his 2016 campaign 104km from the finish line.

The Spaniard had dropped to 20th overall, more than three minutes behind leader Froome.

"I have not recovered from the crashes. I've been sick overnight, that's why I made this decision. I could not continue," the Tinkoff rider said.

Ahead of tonight's rest day, Froome had retained the overall leader's yellow jersey after controlling his closest rivals in the ascent to Arcalis.

The Team Sky rider leads compatriot Adam Yates (Orica-Bike Exchange) by 16 seconds and Ireland's Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) by 19 seconds.

Froome paid tribute to his great rival Contador.

"We are not going to have to chase his attacks 100km out any more. It's one less thing for us to worry about, but it's maybe a shame for the race."

In pouring rain, Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) won stage nine, finishing 38 seconds ahead of Rui Costa and Rafal Majka in Andorra.

The victory allowed the Dutchman to complete his set of grand tour stage wins after prevailing in the Vuelta and the Giro d'Italia.

Australian Richie Porte (BMC) moved a few places up the pecking order to 14th in the overall standings, but is still two minutes 10 seconds from his former teammate Froome.

"I needed to get time back so that was what I was thinking about. The team were fantastic today, they worked quite well together and it would have been nice to have got a bit more of a gap but I'm guessing that they're not going to let me ride away like that," Porte said.

"I feel good; it's just nice to get the first proper base of racing done. Physically, I know where I am and that's in a good place."


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