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Tour Shorts: Moscon questions rapid returns after cobbled crashes, Groenewegen hopes to continue

Team Sky's Gianni Moscon has questioned whether riders drafted behind team cars to help catch the front group of overall contenders during Sunday's ninth stage on the Roubaix cobbles.

The stage saw numerous riders crash and suffer mechanical problems but many of the overall contenders managed to recover and finish together. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) suffered three punctures and twice changed bikes but finished just seven seconds behind the front group. Other riders also bounced back to finish in the group, while Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) never made it back and lost 1:28.

Moscon – who was disqualified from the UCI road race world championships last year for taking a tow via bidon from the Italian team car – did not name names but questioned why UCI commissaires did not apply a barrage (a block of the team cars) as riders chased back to the main group in the slipstream of the 24 team cars.

"They put in a lot of pavé sectors to spark gaps but then they don't enforce a barrage, so everyone gets back on behind the team cars. If they do that then they should avoid including the pavé so that we can avoid risking our lives, the GC remains the same and there aren't any problems," La Gazzetta dello Sport report Moscon as saying.

"We (Team Sky) split the peloton but then everyone got back in the final kilometres. It seems improbable that they managed to close a gap of a minute. They weren't just anybody riding up front. If everyone gets back on like that whenever there are splits, then what's the point in racing?"

Groenewegen hopes to continue in Tour de France despite high-speed crash during Roubaix stage

Dylan Groenewegen hopes to ride on at the Tour de France despite a high-speed crash during Sunday's cobbled stage to Roubaix. The LottoNL-Jumbo sprinter won stages 7 and 8 but went down hard with 84km to go on a straight section of normal road.

Groenewegen tangled with fellow Dutchman Laurens ten Dam (Team Sunweb), landing hard on his left knee. Initially x-rays did not show any fractures and so Groenewegen completed the plane transfer to the Alps. He rode the rollers on Monday morning and will undergo a scan to confirm he is OK to continue in the Tour de France.

Lampaert: 'The legs were gone'

Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) initiated the winning break on the ninth stage of the Tour de France, attacking on the penultimate cobblestone section, but was only able to finish third.

Outsprinted by John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), he could only say, "I tried to attack as I always do, but it must be that the legs were gone."

“I am a bit disappointed but I also have to be satisfied when I look at the riders with whom I was away, and at their palmarès," he told, adding, "John is a great winner. I knew it would be difficult in the sprint, but I think I should be satisfied with my race."

The stage, with its finish near the Belgian border, had extra meaning for the Belgian national road champion. "I had a lot of friends and family members there. The noise was phenomenal. I showed my tricolour jersey and I hope people enjoyed the race."

Tony Martin: 'I'm heartbroken my Tour is over'

Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) had to leave the Tour on Saturday after a crash with only 17km to go of stage 8, and said, "I'm heartbroken that my Tour is over. But I must accept it."

The four-time world time trial champion crashed along with namesake Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), with the German coming offworse. On his website, he said, "I flew over the handlebars onto the ground, and landed on my head, with my lip splitting so much that it had to be stitched. That alone wasn't so dramatic. I hit my back hard and knew right away: something is wrong here, because I quickly had strong pain."

Despite the pain, he went on to finish the stage, 11 minutes down. Initial x-rays at the finish were unclear, so he went to hospital "where they found I had broken a vertebra". He must now stay off the bike for four weeks, so that the bone can recover and regenerate. 

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Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale) suffered a fractured shoulder blade on Sunday's cobbled stage to Roubaix after colliding with a fan who wanted to get a photo. The team announced on Monday's rest day that he is unable to continue in the race.

The collision took place on the third section of cobblestones and Vuillermoz finished the stage one-handed, in 164th place, over 16 minutes down.

His abandon is a major loss to team captain Romain Bardet, as Vuillermoz would have been an important support rider in the upcoming mountain stages.

Vuillermoz tweeted: “Finished the pavé stage one-handed because of an imbecile who wanted his picture at all costs. The day could have gone better. Now headed to Annecy with a fractured shoulder blade. Not sure what's going to happen now. RESPECT US!”

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