The Australian cycling star was caught in a crash only 10km into the stage and was taken to hospital for X-rays with a suspected broken collarbone.
Porte and the other title contenders were wary of Sunday’s 156.5km stage from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix because of its 22km of cobbled roads but his crash happened well before the first cobbled section.
TV footage showed Porte grimacing in pain after the crash, sitting on the side of the road and feeling his right shoulder.
#TDF2018 We can confirm that @richie_porte is on his way to hospital for examination. No one could have imagined this is the way Stage 9 would have started but we still have 7 riders in the race and we are behind them 100% of the way. pic.twitter.com/lsgEcNk1g9
— BMC Racing Team (@BMCProTeam) July 15, 2018
Several other riders, including Porte’s teammate Stefan Kung, went down in the same crash.
Porte had spoken several times of his nerves about stage nine. “Even if nothing happens, it’s going to be one of the mentally most draining stages to come,” he said last week.
“It’s going to be, let’s say, interesting.”
Porte was one of the main rivals to British defending Tour champion Chris Froome, who is riding for his fifth title.
Porte’s best finish at the Tour was fifth in 2016.
The Australian was well-placed at 10th overall, 57 seconds behind race leader and Belgian teammate Greg van Avermaet.
The Tasmanian had also lost time when he was caught in a crash on stage one, but it was not disastrous.
Porte’s goal was to make it through the Roubaix cobbles ahead of Monday’s rest day and then a succession of stages in the Alps, where he would try to stamp his overall claims.
His ultimate aim was to be the first Australian to make the Tour podium since Cadel Evans made history by winning in 2011.
Porte was also well-placed in last year’s race, when he had a sickening high-speed crash on the Mont du Chat descent during the ninth stage. He suffered a fractured pelvis and a broken collarbone, but recovered well.
Porte showed he was ready for this year’s Tour by winning the Tour de Suisse last month, probably the biggest title of his career.
At 33, time is running out for Porte to stay a Tour contender. Evans was one of the oldest champions at 34.
Porte’s disaster means the three main Australian drawcards for the Tour this year either have not started or are out of the race.
Australian team Mitchelton-Scott controversially did not pick young sprint ace Caleb Ewan. Instead, Mitchelton-Scott have put all their resources behind British overall hope Adam Yates.
Australian star Michael Matthews, the reigning green jersey champion, also abandoned before stage five because of illness.
RICHIE Porte has crashed out of the Tour de France for the second year in a row, falling again on his cursed stage nine.
The AG2R La Mondiale team of Romain Bardet suffered a blow to their Tour de France hopes after key mountain domestique Axel Domont was injured in a crash in the closing kilometres of stage 4 to Sarzeau on Tuesday. According to the medical communique, Domont suffered a fractured right collarbone and head trauma, but was cleared...
Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) has been forced to abandon the Tour de France after being involved in a mass-crash during stage 9. His team announced on Twitter that Martin – who finished the stage in last place, 11:05 down – had suffered a fractured cervical vertebrae. “Unfortunately [Tony Martin] won‘t start tomorrow in stage 9. A spinal...