Defending champion Egan Bernal withdraws from Tour de France

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GRENOBLE, France — Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has pulled out of the race forward of a mammoth stage within the Alps, his Ineos Grenadiers staff stated Wednesday.

Bernal had been struggling since final weekend’s stage within the Jura mountains, the place he dropped greater than seven minutes on the primary contenders and slipped out of rivalry. Hampered by again ache, the 23-year-old rider misplaced extra time throughout Tuesday’s first Alpine stage.

Bernal was in 16th place general, 19 minutes and fours seconds behind race chief Primoz Roglic.

“This is obviously not how I wanted my Tour de France to end, but I agree that it is the right decision for me in the circumstances,” Bernal stated. “I have the greatest respect for this race and I’m already looking forward to coming back in the years ahead.”

Final yr, Bernal turned the primary Colombian to win the Tour, and the youngest champion of the post-World Warfare II period. His staff stated Bernal will attempt to get well as shortly as attainable and redefine his targets for the remainder of the season.

“We have taken this decision with Egans’ best interests at heart,” Ineos supervisor Dave Brailsford stated. “Egan is a true champion who loves to race, but he is also a young rider, with many Tours ahead of him.”

Bernal’s withdrawal marked the tip of Ineos’ dominance at biking’s largest occasion. The profitable interval began in 2012 with Bradley Wiggins’ victory, when the staff was referred to as Staff Sky. The squad received seven of the final eight editions with 4 completely different riders, however its best-placed rider this yr is Richard Carapaz, who stood 14th forward of Wednesday’s Stage 17.

Arguably the hardest, the trek options the Col de La Madeleine and the Col de La Loze, the Tour’s highest level this yr at 2,304 meters. The traffic-free move between the ski resorts of Meribel and Courchevel was opened to cyclists this yr after a forest monitor was paved by native authorities. The final six kilometers of the climb are notably tough, with very steep sections and sharp turns.


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