Tour de France

Brutal TDF adds 2 more top sprinters to scrapheap

2018-07-19 20:27
Andre Greipel (File)

Alpe d'Huez - At this rate there will be few sprinters left to contend the prestigious final stage on the world famous Champs Elysees after Andre Greipel and Fernando Gaviria joined four other big names on the Tour de France scrapheap on Thursday.

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen, who claimed his maiden stage win last year on the Champs Elysees and won stages seven and eight on this edition, was the first to get off his bike, before the halfway stage of the gruelling 12th stage held over 175.5km between Bourg d'Oisans and Alpe d'Huez.

It came a day after Britain's Mark Cavendish, Australian Mark Renshaw and Katusha star Marcel Kittel were all eliminated after failing to make the time cut at the end of Wednesday's 11th stage.

Between them, Cavendish (30), Kittel (14), Greipel (11) and Groenewegen (3) count 58 stage wins.

But shortly after Groenewegen's abandon, Lotto-Soudal star Greipel called it a day as he struggled on the Col de la Croix de Fer.

"Le Tour loses another sprinter. After Kittel, Cavendish and Groenewegen, now Andre Greipel gives up," said a brief statement by organisers.

Rick Zabel (Katusha), the son former green jersey winner Erik Zabel, followed suit. And soon after, Gaviria (Quick Step) also got off his bike, becoming the second Colombian to abandon after last year's runner-up, Rigoberto Uran, pulled out before the start of the stage.

Cavendish, who had been chasing Eddy Merckx's record tally of 34 wins, crossed the line 1:05:33 on Wednesday.

Earlier on Thursday Tony Gallopin, a key helper for podium-chasing team-mate Romain Bardet, pulled out to leave his AG2R team with just five riders.

Read more on:    tdf 2018  |  cycling


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