The Spanish cyclist Luis Leon Sanchez has won stage nine on the Tour de France, improving to second place overall, one minute 49 seconds behind the new leader, Frenchman Thomas Voeckler.
Australia's Cadel Evans finished the stage in sixth place, leaving him third overall.
There was more carnage on the stage affecting some of the favourites and big names.
Alberto Contador crashed early before getting back on his bike amid suggestions that he was pushed, while the Kazahstan veteran Alexandre Vinokourov was among injured several riders to pull out of the race. He had a suspected broken thigh bone.
A television car later hit the leading group.