Tour de France: Nibali tightens grip on GC as Froome withdraws

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Great Britain’s poor summer of sport continued yesterday and we are not just talking about India’s dominance with the bat at Trent Bridge.

With around 66km to go of a dramatic Stage 5 of the Tour de France disaster struck as Team Sky leader and defending champion Chris Froom was forced out of the race after his second crash of the day.

It was not the first time the 29-year-old had took a tumble in this year’s race after coming off his bike early on during Stage 4 which left him with a damaged wrist and grazing on his left hip.

But he was cleared to resume racing following an X-ray but in wet conditions the 2013 champion and early favourite for this year’s race could not stay in control and hit the deck on two more occasions before climbing into the Team Sky support car and out of the race.

It is also not the first time Froome has taken a tumble this season with the Kenyan-born rider suffering cuts and abrasions to his shoulder after falling in the Criterium du Dauphine in mid-June.

He now joins Omega Pharma – Quick-Step sprinterMark Cavendish on the sidelines after the Manxman crashed out of the race on Stage 1 in Harrogate in front of the British fans.

On a devastating day for British cycling it was Belkin rider Lars Boom who took the stage win on the cobbles but it was Vincenzo Nibali who took a firm grip on the yellow jersey.

The Italian, who is now the evens favourite to win Le Tour, finished well ahead of main rival Alberto Contador to put 2min, 37secs between him and the Spaniard in the General Classification.

Contador is 6/4 to turn things around and claim a third Tour de France title, while Richie Porte, who is set to lead Team Sky’s challenge after Froome’s withdrawal, is 12/1 to finish on top of the podium.

The Australian, who was Froome’s chief support in the mountains on last year’s Tour, is 11/4 to secure a podium finish now that he has been confirmed as Team Sky’s new leader.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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