Tough day for Tour de France riders

THE fifth stage of the Tour De France could prove to be the most decisive of the race.

The 152.5km stage was raced in wet conditions and the tricky cobbled sections proved tough for tour rookies and veterans.

Bendigo's Zak Dempster finished 107th in stage five, 13 minutes and 51 seconds behind winner Lars Boom.

Dempster did a lot of work early in the stage for Team Netapp-Endura team-mate Leo Konig.

"What a day! Hope everyone's okay that crashed. All good in the team, priority was helping Leo and we did that well I think,'' Dempster tweeted after the stage.

Konig, Team Netapp-Endura's number one rider, is in 32nd place on the overall standings, 4 minutes and 45 seconds  behind the yellow jersey of Italy's Vincenzo Nibali.

Dempster is in 131st place, 30.41 behind Nibali.

Meanwhile, defending champion Chris Froome is out of the Tour De France.

Froome's abandonment was the biggest news of the day as the Briton suffered a nightmare race.

"Devastated to have to withdraw from this years TDF. Injured wrist and tough conditions made controlling my bike near to impossible." Froome tweeted after the stage.

The 29-year-old had already crashed on Tuesday's stage and was wearing a splint to protect his left wrist.

Zak Dempster at the Tour De France.

Zak Dempster at the Tour De France.

But he toppled again just 40 minutes into Wednesday's stage and when he went down another time an hour later.

In visible pain, and holding his right arm across his body, he climbed into a Sky team car, his race over.

His two crashes came before the peloton had even reached the perilous cobbled sections on the stage.

The next biggest loser was Alberto Contador, who trailed in 2min 54sec behind Boom and is now 19th overall and 2:37 behind Nibali.

Other overall contenders didn't fare much better, with world champion Rui Costa, Spaniard Alejandro Valverde and American Tejay Van Garderen now all 2:11 back.

Criterium du Dauphine winner Andrew Talansky is 2:05 off the pace while Australian Richie Porte, now Team Sky's leader in the absence of Froome, is probably the best placed of the potential winners at 1:54, although an eye should be kept on young Pole Michal Kwiatkowski who is just 50sec back.

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