The Latest: Tour de France Crash Takes Out Morabito
MENDE, France (AP) — The Latest from Stage 14 of the Tour de France (all times local):
3:55 p.m. - Steve Morabito broke a collarbone in a crash on Stage 14 and is out of the Tour de France.
The Swiss rider's French FDJ team says he was taken by ambulance back to the stage start in Rodez where doctors diagnosed the fracture.
Richie Porte, a teammate of Tour de France leader Chris Froome, suggests journalists may be putting riders in danger by questioning Froome's dominant performance and "whipping up all the rubbish that they are."
Porte says someone, apparently a spectator, thumped him with a "full-on punch" on a climb in the Pyrenees.
Speaking in a podcast interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph, the Sky team racer says "it's getting to the point where some of these journalists whipping up all the rubbish that they are, they need to be accountable a little bit for our safety."
Sky feels that persistent questions about Froome's riding and whether he's somehow cheating — which he insists he's not — are adversely influencing public opinion.
Porte said spectators have accused him of doping. He said, "I've never taken any shortcuts and it's just a disgrace that they are saying the same things about Chris Froome."
A short but very sharp uphill finish awaits the 175 Tour de France riders who have set off from Rodez on Stage 14, bound for Mende.
The 178-kilometer (111-mile) west-to-east route winds through plains and hills on the fringes of the Massif Central region, with a swing through the breathtaking Tarn gorges.
The final climb isn't long, at 3 kilometers (just under 2 miles), but is very steep with an average 10-percent gradient.
Race leader Chris Froome is expecting podium challengers who are nearly 3 minutes and more behind him to attack on that ascent.
Riders are also dealing again with brutal heat, with temperatures again into the mid-30s Celsius (mid-90s Fahrenheit).
(Story by: The Associated Press)