Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) called an end to his Tour de France mid-way through stage 11, abandoning the race on the Col du Télégraphe on a tough day in the Alps.
The Dutchman has been well below his usual high standards since the start of the Tour and had been contemplating his exit for several days.
He appeared to have found a new lease of life when he went on the attack with his old cyclo-cross rival Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in the opening kilometres of the first high-mountain stage.
However, he was dropped from the expanded breakaway on the first climb of the day, the category-2 Lacets de Montvernier, inside the first 50km.
Van der Poel drifted back towards the peloton for the rather tougher combination of the Télégraphe and Col du Galibier, but didn’t make it to the top. He was quickly spat out of the back on the Télégraphe, apparently enough evidence gathered to finally call time on what has been a miserable second Tour de France.
More to follow
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