Reigning Champion Bernal Quits Tour de France After Suffering In Mountains

Every Second (And Point) Counts In Week 3

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Last year's winner Egan Bernal withdrew from the Tour de France on Wednesday with the defence of his title already in tatters.

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The 23-year-old Colombian's team Ineos announced he was dropping out ahead of the key 17th stage.

Bernal came into the Tour with a back injury and missing key allies and two of his team then suffered injuries before Bernal himself suffered a meltdown on a tough ascent on Sunday that effectively ended his 2020 campaign as he fell eight minutes behind the pace.

"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 said in a statement from Ineos.

The stage on Wednesday takes the peloton over the highest peak in this year's race in a ride that resembles the one where the man from the Andes sealed his breakthrough win last year.

Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic leads the Tour, riding for the Jumbo team that has eclipsed Ineos this year. Amother Slovenian, Tadej Pogacar, is second and a clutch of riders are still in with a chance of a shot at the podium.

Bernal was a distant 16th in the standings and his team have failed to find their form on the race.

"We have taken this decision with Egan's best interests at heart," said Ineos team 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 almost certainly ends a sequence of five straight Tour de France victories for Ineos and its previous incarnation, Team Sky.

Giro d'Italia champion Richard Carapaz, Ineos's best-placed rider, is 14th in the standings, 17 minutes behind Roglic.

Ineos has won seven of the last eight Tour de Frances, interrupted only by Vincenzo Nibali's victory for Astana in 2014.

Ineos decided to drop four-time winner Chris Froome, who is recovering from a serious crash last year, and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas for this year's race, leaving the team with less clout and Bernal exposed.

Questions have also been raised about Ineos's training and usually meticulous preparations as Bernal and co-captain Carapaz have been run ragged.

Another key factor in the unexpected slump could be the death of their charismatic sports director Nicholas Portal in March.

Brailsford and Portal helped Bradley Wiggins to his Grande Boucle win in 2012, Chris Froome to wins in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Geraint Thomas in 2018 and Bernal in 2019.

But there were ominous signs for Bernal two weeks before the Tour when he was forced out of the Criterium du Dauphine with a back problem.

On Sunday, he struggled badly on the last of three massive mountain climbs on Stage 15, the defining moment of the race so far.

"I lost three years of my life on that climb, I gave it everything. But I just couldn't keep up," Bernal said after the stage.

Despite that meltdown Bernal seemed to have rediscovered his smile during Tuesday's stage and there was little sign he was about to pull out.

"I have the greatest respect for this race and I'm already looking forward to coming back here in the years ahead," he said.

Favorites And Underdogs - Men's 2020 World Championships Road Race

Worlds: Steep Climbs, Slick Tricky Descents

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The men’s 2020 World Championship road race will close the four days of elite competition in Imola, Italy. For some, it will be their first major competition since lockdown, while others will be arriving straight from France after a dramatic finish to the Tour de France. Who will have the advantage in Imola?

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Favorites And Underdogs - Women's 2020 World Championships Road Race

Worlds: Steep Climbs, Slick Tricky Descents

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The women’s 2020 racing season had only just begun before Covid-19 hit. Many of the riders had yet to race before being forced into quarantine with the rest of the pro peloton and the world. Now, after racing a short schedule -- Strade Bianche, La Course at the Tour de France and the Giro Rosa -- they face the Worlds road race.

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Van der Breggen Wins World Time-Trial Gold As Dygert Crashes

Chloe Dygert 2020 World Championships

Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen finally struck gold after four consecutive silver medals in the women's individual time-trial as defending champion Chloe Dygert crashed out at the Road World Championships in Imola on Thursday.

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'Nothing To Hide': Tour de France Team Leader Quintana Denies Doping

Chasing The Pros: Roglic/Bernal?

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The lead rider of a Tour de France team caught up in a doping investigation said he had "nothing to hide" after two unnamed members of the French outfit were briefly detained before being released.

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How To Watch The 2020 Giro d'Italia Live

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Kicking off with a 15.1 km time trial in Monreale on October 3rd, the 2020 Giro d'Italia is finally set to begin after a delay due to COVID-19. Notable riders that will participate in the race include Peter Sagan, 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, Simon Yates, 2-time Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali, and many more. The 21-stage race will begin in Sicily before moving to the mainland and concluding in Milan on October 25th, 2020.

Recap: Pogacar Crowned Tour de France Champion, Bennett Wins Finale

Watch In Canada: Tour de France Stage 21

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Slovenian rookie Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France on Sunday, riding triumphantly into Paris in the race leader's yellow jersey at just 21 years old.

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Recap: Pogacar Poised To Win Tour de France After Shocking Turnaround

Watch In Canada: Tour de France Stage 20

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Tadej Pogacar all but clinched the Tour de France on Saturday after his Slovenian compatriot Primoz Roglic let a 57 seconds lead slip in a tricky individual time-trial, the last day of real racing.

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Recap: Roglic Retains Tour Lead, Kragh Andersen Wins Stage 19

Watch In Canada: Tour de France Stage 19

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Primoz Roglic kept his lead in the Tour de France on Friday with just two stages remaining as Denmark's Soren Kragh Andersen soloed to victory on stage 19.

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Roglic Retains TDF Lead As Kwiatkowski Wins Stage 18

stage 18 winner

Primoz Roglic retained his lead on compatriot Tadej Pogacar atop the Tour de France standings after stage 18 as British outfit Ineos claimed a one-two finish on Thursday.

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How To Watch The 2020 Tour de France Live With Svein Tuft & Sam Bewley

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The 2020 Tour de France is available live and on demand for FloBikes subscribers in Canada, and we have something extra in store for both our Canadian and worldwide subscribers!