GRANOBLE, France (AP) – Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has been knocked out of a race in front of a stage math in the Alps, his Inios Grenadiers team said Wednesday.
Bernal has been struggling since last weekend’s stage in the Old Mountains, where he cut more than seven minutes on the main contenders and got out of the argument. Interrupted by back pain, the 23-year-old lost more time during the first alpine phase on Tuesday.
Bernal race leader Primoz Roglik was 16th overall in 19 minutes and four seconds.
“It’s not clear how I want my trip to France to end, but I agree that in the circumstances it is the right decision for me,” Bernal said. “I have the greatest respect for this race and I look forward to coming back in the years to come.”
Last year, Bernal became the first Colombian to win the Tour, and the youngest champion since World War II. His team said Bernal would try to recover as quickly as possible and redefine his goals for the rest of the season.
Inios manager Dave Brailsford said: “We have made this decision in the best interests of Egons. “Egan is a true champion who loves to take part in races, but he is also a young athlete with many journeys ahead.”
The departure of Burnell ended Inos’ dominance in the biggest cycling event. The successful period began with the victory of Bradley Wiggins in 2012, when the team was called Team Sky. The team has won seven of the last eight editions with four different riders, but its best-ranked player this year is Richard Carapaz, who finished 14th out of Wednesday’s stage 17.
Toughly, the tracks include the Cole de la Madeleine and the Cole de la Loz, the highest point of the tour this year is 2,304 meters. The traffic-free pass between the ski resorts of Marybell and Curchewelle was opened to cyclists this year after a forest track was prepared by local officials. The last six kilometers of the climb is especially difficult with very steep parts and sharp turns.
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