(Reuters) – Defending champion Egan Bernal has withdrawn from the Tour de France ahead of stage 17 after dropping out of contention at the weekend, his Ineos Grenadiers team said on Wednesday.
Bernal’s hopes of winning the race fell away when he cracked in the 15th stage and he was dropped from the main bunch in the ascent to Saint-Nizier suffering from back pains in Tuesday’s 16th stage.
Bernal had said compensating for his back led to some discomfort in his knee.
“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 said in a statement just a day after saying he wanted to ride to Paris.
“I have the greatest respect for this race and I am already looking forward to coming back in the years ahead.”