Defending champion Egan Bernal withdraws from Tour de France

GRENOBLE, France (AP) — Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has pulled out of the race forward of a mammoth phase in the Alps, his Ineos Grenadiers group mentioned Wednesday.

Bernal experienced been struggling considering the fact that final weekend’s phase in the Jura mountains, exactly where he dropped additional than seven minutes on the key contenders and slipped out of competition. Hampered by again agony, the 23-calendar year-previous rider shed a lot more time in the course of Tuesday’s initial Alpine stage.

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

”This is of course not how I wanted my Tour de France to close, but I agree that it is the right determination for me in the instances,” Bernal explained. ”I have the biggest regard for this race and I am already searching forward to coming back again in the a long time ahead.”

Past yr, Bernal grew to become the very first Colombian to win the Tour, and the youngest champion of the post-Globe War II era. His staff claimed Bernal will try out to get well as immediately as feasible and redefine his objectives for the rest of the season.

”We have taken this choice with Egans’ best pursuits at coronary heart,” Ineos supervisor Dave Brailsford explained. ”Egan is a genuine champion who enjoys to race, but he is also a young rider, with quite a few Tours in advance of him.”

Bernal’s withdrawal marked the stop of Ineos’ dominance at cycling’s major celebration. The prosperous period began in 2012 with Bradley Wiggins’ victory, when the workforce was identified as Group Sky. The squad received 7 of the last 8 editions with 4 distinct riders, but its ideal-put rider this calendar year is Richard Carapaz, who stood 14th in advance of Wednesday’s Stage 17.

Arguably the toughest, the trek options the Col de La Madeleine and the Col de La Loze, the Tour’s maximum position this yr at 2,304 meters. The website traffic-absolutely free go between the ski resorts of Meribel and Courchevel was opened to cyclists this yr immediately after a forest keep track of was paved by area authorities. The final 6 kilometers of the climb are significantly hard, with incredibly steep sections and sharp turns.

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