Stage 9 in Grand Tours seems to have turned into a sticking point for Geraint Thomas. The 31-year-old Welshman crashed during stage 9 at the Giro d'Italia in May and was forced to abandon three days later while sitting second overall. The Team Sky lieutenant for defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome crashed again during stage 9 on Sunday and was forced to abandon the French Grand Tour with a broken collarbone.
"I'm just thinking of the devastation of leaving the Tour and another Grand Tour," Thomas said in a statement posted on the Team Sky website. "I crashed at the Giro on stage 9, and it's stage nine 9 here. I was lying second overall on both days as well. It's just so disappointing."
Thomas hit the deck on the descent of the Col de la Biche with just over 100 kilometres left to race on Sunday.
"Everyone was nervous, everyone wanted to be at the front and a few people were battling to get between myself, Froomey and the rest of the boys," he said. "I let [Rafal] Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) in and then he came down right in front of me on a straight bit of road. I had nowhere to go, went over the top of him and landed on my collarbone."
Thomas initially continued on, but after further medical consultation decided to hop off his bike.
"Team doctor Jimmy [Juan Mercadel] said he thought it was broken, but I got back on the bike and carried on down the descent, but when I got on the flat I knew something was wrong," Thomas said. "Then the race doctor said exactly the same, so I ended up stopping then, went for a scan and it's broken.”
Thomas started the stage sitting second overall on GC, 12 seconds down on Froome. Fabio Aru (Astana) moved into second place after stage 9, just 18 seconds down on Froome. Romain Bardet (AG2R) is third, 51 seconds down.
Thomas, who recently announced extending for one more year with Team Sky, won the opening stage of the Tour in Germany and wore the maillot jaune until stage 5, when he handed it over to Froome on the first summit finish of this year's race. Thomas has crashed several times during the Tour de France and fell as recently as stage 8 when he overcooked a corner and went over the bars.