Tomblaine - South Africa's Robbie Hunter has been forced to pull out of the 99th Tour de France after a series of accidents in the opening week.
Hunter confirmed his withdrawal via Twitter: Might as well hear it from me.I couldn't start, got stress fractures in a vertebrae & its progressively gotten worse.Hugely disappointed!!!
Been trying to ride through the pain but woke up this am & I'm battling to walk never mind ride.at this point I gotta worry about my health!
Hunter, riding for the Garmin team, did not sign in for the start of Stage 7, a 199km ride across the Vosges mountains that will end with the first of the race's three summit finishes.Stage 6 saw a number of riders fall victim to a crash 26km from the end, including reigning Giro d'Italia winner and Hunter's team-mate, Ryder Hesjedal.
As a result, only 182 of the 198 entrants started Stage 7.