ARENBERG PORTE DU HAINAUT, France — Defending champion Chris Froome pulled out of the Tour de France after crashing twice during Wednesday’s fifth stage.
A day after hurting his wrist in a crash in the fourth stage, Froome took another spill in the rainy conditions of the 152.5-kilometer trek from the Belgian town of Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in France.
He managed to rejoin the peloton, but withdrew from the race after falling hard again in advance of the first of seven cobblestoned sections.
“Devastated to have to withdraw from this years TDF. Injured wrist and tough conditions made controlling my bike near to impossible,” Froome tweeted.
Lars Boom won the fifth stage, completing the treacherous route in a time of 3 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds.
“This is my most beautiful win,” Boom said. “It rained all day and the roads were extremely slippery. It was a crazy race with all the crashes but I stayed at the front, out of trouble.”
The stage was to include nine patches of cobblestones, but the wet conditions forced race organizers to remove two of them before the start.
Vincenzo Nibali will continue to wear the leader’s yellow jersey after finishing third on the stage. Nibali remains two seconds ahead of Jakob Fuglsang, who finished second. Both riders were 19 seconds behind Boom.
“It was a really stressful day and a very hard race,” Nibali said. “I wasn’t thinking of the yellow jersey. I was just focused on riding the best I could.’
Former Tour winner Alberto Contador lost 2:35 on Nibali after a 37th-place finish Wednesday.
Today’s Stage 6 is a 194-kilometer jaunt from Arras to Reims.