Team INEOS rider Egan Bernal fell further off the pace on stage 16 of the Tour de France and has now pulled out of the competition.

Tour de France: Reigning champion Egan Bernal withdraws ahead of stage 17


Reigning champion Egan Bernal has withdrawn from the Tour de France ahead of stage 17 after falling well out of contention.

The Team INEOS rider cracked in Sunday's stage 15 on the Grand Colombier to drop from third to 13th and lost more time on yellow jersey holder Primoz Roglic on Tuesday.

Bernal, who became the youngest winner of the Tour since World War II when triumphing last year, indicated he intended to see out the final four competitive stages.

However, on the morning of Wednesday's queen stage to Col de la Loze, INEOS announced the Colombian will now save himself for other upcoming races.

Team principal Dave Brailsford said in a statement: "We have taken this decision with Egan's best interests at heart. 

"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 slipped to 16th in the standings on Tuesday, just over 19 minutes off the lead, and he feels the decision to abandon the Tour is the right choice.

"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 said.

"I have the greatest respect for this race and I am already looking forward to coming back in the years ahead."

Tadej Pogacar remains within 40 seconds of leader and compatriot Roglic heading into stage 17, with Rigoberto Uran one minute and 34 seconds behind in third.



Wiggins: I'm not a cheat

This is someone trying to smear me - Wiggins hits out at cheating claims

Five-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has labelled allegations of cheating as "malicious".


Froom defends Team Sky, Brailsford

Froome stands by under-fire Team Sky & Brailsford

Team Sky and Dave Brailsford have come under fire, but Chris Froome spoke out in their defence on Tuesday.


Cavendish crashes again

Cavendish crashes again on Tirreno-Adriatico opening stage

It has been a difficult start to 2018 for Mark Cavendish, who suffered another crash on the opening day of the Tirreno-Adriatico.


UCI chief wants Team Sky examined

UCI president calls for investigation into Team Sky

Team Sky should be investigated for any signs of anti-doping violations, according to UCI president David Lappartient.


Froome unhappy with UCI chief

Froome urges UCI chief not to raise concerns in the media

UCI president David Lappartient said it would be a "disaster" if Chris Froome took part in the Tour de France, irritating the champion.


Top Headlines

Football

Cricket