Richie Porte crashes out of Tour de France

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CHAMBERY, France (AP) — Chris Froome fiercely defended — and even extended — the overall lead in the Tour de France on an ultra-tough day of high drama and punishing climbs in eastern France’s Jura mountains on Sunday, seeing both his top teammate and one of his top rivals crash out and surviving daredevil descents at speeds exceeding 70 kilometers (45 miles) per hour.

Getting through Sunday’s Stage 9 unscathed, arguably the toughest of this Tour’s 21 stages, marked a crucial step in the three-time champion’s campaign for a fourth win. The last descent of the day with seven climbs saw a terrifying high-speed crash involving Richie Porte, who had been fifth overall but is now out of the race.

Porte missed a left-hand bend, cartwheeled across the road and bowled over another rider, Dan Martin, before slamming into a stony, vine-covered bank. The Australian was first treated by medics as he lay on the tarmac and then taken away, conscious, in an ambulance to hospital.

Also crashing out was Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas, who had held the overall lead for the first four days of the Tour.

TOUR: Results/Standings | Highlights | Broadcast Schedule

Froome placed third in the stage, narrowly beaten in a final sprint by Colombian Rigoberto Uran at the finish in Chambery, in the Alps. French rider Warren Barguil was just millimeters behind in second place — so close that he burst into tears thinking he had won, only to discover moments later that he hadn’t.

Uran thought Barguil had beaten him to the line.

“They told me I had won but I was convinced Warren had won it,” he said.

For his third place, Froome was awarded four bonus seconds that allowed him to consolidate his overall lead. With Thomas, who had been in second place, now out, Italian Fabio Aru climbed to the second spot in the overall rankings — 18 seconds behind Froome overall.

Monday is the race’s first rest day. The Tour returns Tuesday with Stage 10.

NBC Sports Gold coverage starts at 7:05 a.m. ET. NBCSN’s coverage starts at 8 a.m.

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MORE: 10 Tour de France riders to watch

Team USA Opening Ceremony uniforms have heaters

NBC Universal
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The U.S. Olympic team uniforms for the PyeongChang Opening Ceremony contain heating components that will last up to 11 hours.

Ice dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani and bobsledder Aja Evans wore the uniforms on TODAY on Monday.

The heat technology will come in handy.

The PyeongChang Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 (live streaming on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app) will be in an outdoor stadium, likely in below-freezing temperatures.

From USA Today:

“The athletes can set the temperature (there are three settings) via their cellphones. The heat can last up to five hours on the high setting and 11 hours on the low setting, fully charged.”

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic schedule daily highlights

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Jamaica misses Olympic men’s bobsled by one spot

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The only Jamaican bobsled team in PyeongChang will be its women’s bobsled team.

Jamaica missed qualifying a two-man bobsled team for the Olympics by one spot in rankings finalized last week.

Jamaica still had a chance to sneak into the 30-sled Olympic field if one of the qualified nations declined a spot, but that didn’t happen.

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation made it official Monday, publishing the Olympic fields for each event.

At least one Jamaican men’s sled competed in every Olympics from 1988 through 2002, then again in 2014.

Sochi driver Winston Watts retired, but a new team was formed in this Olympic cycle that included former Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals running back Michael Blair.

New driver Seldwyn Morgan competed on the lower-level North American Cup the last three seasons with a top finish of seventh.

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MORE: Would Usain Bolt make a good bobsledder?