Ineos Grenadiers rider Egan Bernal has ended his Tour de France defence with a withdrawal earlier than stage 17.
The Colombian, 23, misplaced greater than seven minutes to chief Primoz Roglic on Sunday’s Grand Colombier climb.
After Tuesday’s stage 16, Bernal was 16th within the basic classification, simply over 19 minutes off the lead.
“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,” he stated in a statement.
Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz is Ineos’ highest-ranked rider within the GC standings in 14th, 17 minutes and 23 seconds behind Roglic.
Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford stated: “We have taken this decision with Egan’s best interests at heart.
“Egan is a real champion who likes to race, however he’s additionally a younger rider, with many Tours forward of him and at this level, on stability, we really feel it’s wiser for him to cease racing.”
The team has provided seven of the last eight Tour winners, including British trio Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins.