Australian pre-race favourite Richie Porte is out of the Tour de France after a sickening crash during a high-speed descent during the ninth stage.
Porte fractured his right collarbone and pelvis in the crash, which also took out contender Dan Martin, who got back on his bike to complete the race.
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, who was lying second overall, also withdrew from the race after breaking his collarbone in an earlier crash.
Colombian Rigoberto Uran, of Cannondale-Drapac, won the 181.5-kilometre from Nantua to Chambery in a thrilling photo finish.
One of the race’s favourites, Porte was in a group of seven riders, including race leader Chris Froome, when he came off his bike at a speed of 70km/h on the descent of Mont du Chat – the last of seven categorised climbs on a brutal stage.
The Australian rider reportedly braked to avoid the wheel of another rider and subsequently missed a downhill left-hand bend, leaving the sealed road, cartwheeling back across the bend and bowling over Dan Martin, before hitting a grassy bank.
He was immediately treated on the side of the road before being carried into an ambulance on a stretcher and taken to hospital for examination.
Team doctor Max Testa said Porte had suffered a broken collarbone and a fractured pelvis.
“Normally, a fractured clavicle and pelvis would require four to six weeks’ recovery, providing there are no complications,” BMC team doctor Max Testa said.
“If everything goes to plan, Richie could be back on the bike at the beginning of August and slowly build his fitness up from there.
“Based on Richie’s recovery, we will re-evaluate his program for the rest of the season in consultation with BMC Racing Team management.”
BMC sports director Fabio Baldato said the 32-year-old Porte “had a lot of pain” but had remained conscious through his ordeal.
Baldato added that Porte had ridden the descent four times before the Tour, including once in racing conditions during last month’s Criterium du Dauphine which he narrowly lost.
Uran of Cannondale-Drapac won the stage ahead of France’s Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) after a photo finish, with Briton Froome third.
“They told me I had won but I was convinced Warren had won it,” Uran said.
Team Sky’s Froome retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey on a day when his lieutenant Geraint Thomas, who was second, also crashed out of the race.
Froome leads the overall classification by 18 seconds from Italy’s Fabio Aru, while Frenchman Romain Bardet, last year’s race runner-up, is third 51 seconds off the pace.
Defending champion Froome was attacked by Fabio Aru just as he suffered a mechanical on the last climb, before the Italian finally adhered to the Tour’s unwritten rule that challengers shouldn’t attack the race leader when he’s in trouble not of his own making.
“I had a mechanical problem with my gears, I had to change bike,” Froome.
“I want to thank the other riders, who did not attack.”
Froome added he did not see Aru attacking past him as he raised his arms to ask for assistance.
Monday is a rest day and the fight for the overall title is set to resume on Thursday with the first big Pyrenean stage.