Tour de France: Defending champion Egan Bernal withdraws before stage 17

Egan Bernal
Bernal became the Ineos team’s seventh Tour winner in eight years in 2019

Egan Bernal the Ineos Grenadier rider, has ended his Tour de France defense with a withdrawal before stage 17.

The Colombian, 23, lost more than seven minutes to leader Primoz Roglic on Sunday’s Grand Colombier climb.

After Tuesday’s stage 16, Bernal was 16th in the general classification, just 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 said in a statement.

Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz is Ineos’ highest ranked rider in the GC standings in 14th, 17 minutes and 23 seconds behind Roglic.

Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said, 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.”

The team has provided seven of the last eight Tour winners, including British trio Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins.

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