The defending champion withdraws after trailing by a large margin in the Tour of France

Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal, who won the title in 2019, decided to withdraw from the Tour of France, according to what his team "Ineos" announced today, after he fell far behind the riders of the vanguard and complained of problems in his back.

The 23-year-old's hopes of retaining the title have evaporated since Sunday, in the first mountain stages of this year's edition, after he was more than eight minutes behind the leading riders.

"It is clearly not the way I wanted to finish the tour of France, but I agree that it is the right decision for me under the circumstances," Bernal said, according to a statement published by his team.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic leads the general standings, 40 seconds ahead of his compatriot Tadi Bogachar, before the seventeenth stage scheduled for Wednesday between Grenoble and Meribel Cole de la Luz at a distance of 170 km, in which the riders will pass the highest peak during the race at an altitude of 2304 meters.

Ineos team manager Dave Brailsford said, "We made this decision with Egan’s interests in mind. Egan is a true champion who loves to race, but he is also a young rider who has many races ahead, and at this stage, in general, we feel it is wise for him to stop racing." ", In reference to the aches that the Colombian cyclist suffers in his back.

Bernal is 16th in the overall standings, 19 minutes and 4 seconds off the lead.

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