Tour de France: Valverde crashes out as Thomas takes time trial

Jon Izaguirre went down in the same corner as Valverde and had to abandon

BMC's Richie Porte, seen as Froome's main rival, crossed in a time of 16 minutes 51 seconds, while there was worse news for Nairo Quintana and Movistar as key man Alejandro Valverde crashed out of the race. "We have an objective, a goal".

These days, a new generation of German riders led by Kittel and Greipel - who have won 21 Tour stages between them - plus four-time time trial world champion Tony Martin and classics specialist John Degenkolb, have drawn German fans back.

"Last year I was better in the Vuelta than I was in the Tour", he said. With my mum and my wife I've had a bit of a rough time recently so it's nice to get this win.

Valverde successfully underwent surgery at Dusseldorf's University Hospital to fix some of the injuries sustained in his race-ending crash, Movistar said in a statement.

His team-mate Chris Froome finished sixth, 12 seconds down, as he opens his bid to win a third straight Tour crown and fourth overall. Even Erik Zabel, the popular rider who still holds the record of six green jerseys in the Tour's points classification, admitted to doping after he retired.

Team manager Eusebio Unzue said the team had full confidence that Quintana could deliver his best. Watch every minute live on Eurosport Player, plus minute-by-minute live blog and extensive video highlights - breakaways, sprints, stage finishes, interviews, incidents; you won't miss a thing.

"Valverde will remain in Germany at least two more days before returning to Spain to continue a recovery that will keep him off the road for several months", it added.

"His condition is perfect for this kind of race".

"It was stressful. You kind of forget what the Tour is like", Thomas said.

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