Mathieu van der Poel and Primoz Roglic withdraw from Tour de France

Roglic, last year's runner up, had suffering multiple bruises when he crashed in stage three

The Tour de France witnessed some high-profile withdrawals on Sunday with Mathieu van der Poel and Primoz Roglic leaving the race before stage nine.

Alpecin-Fenix rider Van der Poel decided to cut his Tour short after his superb run came came to a stunning halt in the Alps.

The Dutch rider spent six days in the yellow jersey, but on Saturday UAE Team Emirates' defending champion Tadej Pogacar left him in his wake.

Pogacar, 22, started stage eight three minutes and 43 seconds off the lead of Mathieu van der Poel. At the end of the day, Van der Poel finished more than 20 minutes off the pace.

Van der Poel said he was leaving the race to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, where he aims to race his mountain bike.

"It was not my goal to go for the [general classification]," the Alpecin-Fenix rider said. "It's been an amazing week for me and the team, we won two stages and had yellow for six days. It's my first Grand Tour and I think we can be really happy for that.

"Unfortunately I will not start today. We decided with the team it's in my best interests to quit the race now and focus on the Olympics."

Meanwhile, Roglic, last year's runner-up, abandoned the Tour before stage nine after suffering multiple bruises when he crashed in stage three.

A heavily bandaged Roglic finished in a group 35 minutes down on Saturday, having already lost time on Friday. The Slovenian will now try to recover ahead of the Olympics later this month.

"We took the decision altogether with the team, it doesn't make sense to continue the way it was going at the end," said the Jumbo-Visma rider, who led last year's Tour until the penultimate stage. "Now we'll definitely try to recover and focus on new goals."

Updated: July 4th 2021, 11:28 AM
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