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Wayde van Niekerk among athlete of the year finalists; no Caster Semenya

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Mo Farah, Wayde van Niekerk and Mutaz Barshim have been nominated for the IAAF world athlete of the year award.

The women’s nominees were Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana (10,000m gold, 5000m silver at worlds), Greek pole vault world champion Ekaterini Stefanidi and heptathlon world champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium.

Farah won 10,000m gold and 5000m silver at worlds in London. Van Niekerk also took gold and silver, in the 400m and 200m respectively. Barshim went undefeated in 2017, including his first world outdoor title in the high jump.

Noticeably absent from the finalists was South African Caster Semenya, who took 800m gold and 1500m bronze at worlds. Semenya, scrutinized since her 2009 gender-testing controversy, is undefeated at 800m for more than two years and twice lowered her national record in 2017.

Also missing the cut was Polish hammer throw world-record holder Anita Włodarczyk, who is undefeated since June 2014 and had the second-best throw of all time this year. And Russian high jumper Maria Lasitskene, who won all 24 of her indoor and outdoor meets in 2017 and had the six highest clearances in the world for the year.

Usain Bolt and Ayana won the awards last year.

The IAAF says the finalists were determined by a “three-way voting process.” Half of the votes came from the IAAF Council, 25 percent from the IAAF member federations and committee members, and the remaining portion from a public vote conducted by social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Richie Porte crashes out of Tour de France again

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Australian Richie Porte crashed out of the Tour de France on the ninth stage for a second straight year, suffering a fractured right clavicle six miles into Sunday’s stage.

“Obviously I’m devastated,” Porte said, according to Team BMC. “For the second year in a row I am ending the Tour de France like this. I was on the ground before I knew it, and straight away felt pain in my right shoulder.”

Porte, who finished fifth in the 2016 Tour de France and was an overall podium contender these last two years, was seen sitting on the side of the road, gritting his teeth and crossing his right arm over his chest.

There was a mass stoppage of riders, with at least one spectator down on the side of the narrow road. The crash came well before the Tour stage was to hit 15 arduous cobblestone sections totaling 13 miles.

Porte was in 10th place after eight stages, 57 seconds behind race leader and BMC teammate Greg Van Avermaet. Avermaet and American Tejay van Garderen, in third place, were expected to work for Porte in the mountains later this week, hoping to put him in the yellow jersey.

Now, Van Garderen is in line to be the team leader.

In 2017, Porte fractured his clavicle and pelvis on a ninth-stage crash on a descent and had to abandon the Tour.

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Chris Froome, other stars crash on Tour de France cobblestones stage

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Richie PorteTejay van GarderenRigoberto UranMikel Landa. Even Chris Froome.

Stage nine of the Tour de France promised to rattle the top riders, and the 15 sections of cobblestones totaling 13 miles delivered just that. All of the named men crashed on Sunday, with Porte abandoning the Grand Tour altogether (albeit he crashed before the first cobbles section, six miles into the stage).

In the end, German John Degenkolb got the stage win ahead of overall race leader Greg Van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert.

Van Avermaet, the Olympic road race champion from Belgium, retained the yellow jersey for a sixth straight day, extending his lead to 43 seconds over Brit Geraint Thomas. Van Avermaet rides for Team BMC, which lost its team leader in Porte.

American van Garderen presumably became the new team leader, but he crashed later in the stage and also suffered three flat tires.

Van Garderen entered the day third in the overall standings, nine seconds behind Van Avermaet. He ended it in 30th place, 6:05 behind Van Avermaet.

The best-placed favorite to finish on the podium in Paris on July 29 is now the four-time Tour winner Froome, in eighth place, 1:42 behind Van Avermaet. Froome is trying to tie the record of five Tour titles shared by Jacques AnquetilEddy MerckxBernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

The Tour takes its first of two rest days Monday, resuming with the first day in the Alps on Tuesday live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here). Stage 10 features a beyond-category climb and three category-one climbs.

“I’m relieved to get through today and looking forward to getting into the mountains now where the real race for GC (general classification) will start,” Froome said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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