Tour de France leader Tony Martin quit the race after breaking his collarbone in a crash near the end of the sixth stage and being helped across the line by teammates.
His squad, Etixx-QuickStep, confirmed that he broke the bone when he came off his bike, and his exit was announced on the Tour’s website. He’s the second yellow jersey-wearing rider to leave after a crash, with Fabian Cancellera dropping out Monday after a pileup that involved more than a dozen cyclists.
Martin’s crash also brought down half a dozen other riders including defending champion Vincenzo Nibali and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, another contender to win the race. Martin, a time-trial specialist who wasn’t seen as a threat to win the 21-stage race, appeared to veer into another rider and topple of his bike. Pedaling slowly, three of his teammates helped him to the end of the stage.
The accident happened after riders covered all but one of 119 miles along the Normandy coastline from Abbeville to Le Havre in sunny weather. As Martin nursed his injury, his teammate Zdenek Stybar won the stage in a late solo breakaway.
Because the accident happened within the last two miles, the race standings weren’t affected. Martin preserved a 12-second lead over 2013 winner Chris Froome. American Tejay van Garderen stayed 13 seconds further back in third.
Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo is 48 seconds behind Martin in eighth, and Astana’s Nibali is 1 minute, 50 seconds off the pace. Movistar’s Quintana is another 18 seconds further back.
Daniel Teklehaimanot, from the east African nation of Eritrea, took the polka-dot jersey worn by the top mountain climber after he was the first over a small climb 18 miles from the end. He gave a thumbs-up sign to the camera after reaching the summit.
Teklehaimanot, who took the jersey from Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez, was part of a three-man breakaway that led the field for most of the five-hour ride. He rides for South Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka team, the first African team to compete at the Tour.
The first major mountain climbs in the Pyrenees start next week.