Last yr’s winner Egan Bernal has withdrawn from the Tour de France, his Ineos staff mentioned on Wednesday, after the younger Colombian fell out of competition and complained of again hassle. The Colombian, 23, noticed his title defence successfully extinguished on Sunday, the primary main mountain stage, when he was greater than eight minutes off the tempo. “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 mentioned in a staff assertion. Jumbo rider Primoz Roglic leads the Tour from fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar forward of Wednesday’s Stage 17. Bernal was a distant 16th within the standings.
“We have taken this decision with Egan’s best interests at heart,” mentioned Ineos staff principal Dave Brailsford.
“Egan is a true champion who loves to race, but he is also a young rider, with many Tours ahead of him and at this point, on balance, we feel it is wiser for him to stop racing.”
Bernal’s withdrawal virtually definitely ends a sequence of 5 straight Tour de France victories for Ineos and its earlier incarnation, Team Sky. Carapaz, Ineos’s best-placed rider, is 14th within the standings, 17 minutes behind Roglic.
The British outfit has received biking’s greatest prize in seven of the final eight editions, interrupted solely by Vincenzo Nibali’s victory for Astana in 2014.
Ineos determined to drop four-time winner Chris Froome and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas for this yr’s race, a call that left the staff with much less clout and Bernal uncovered.
Questions have additionally been raised about Ineos’s coaching and preparations — normally meticulous — as Bernal and his co-captain, Carapaz, have been run ragged.
It had already seemed ominous for Bernal two weeks earlier than the Tour, when he was pressured out of the Criterium du Dauphine with a again downside.
On Sunday, he collapsed on the final of three huge mountain climbs on Stage 15, the defining second of the race up to now.
“I lost three years of my life on that climb, I gave it everything. But I just couldn’t keep up,” Bernal mentioned after the stage.
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