Rigoberto Uran has withdrawn from the Tour de France due to injuries suffered on stage nine.
The EF Education First - Drapac rider crashed on the cobbled 156.5 kilometre ride from Arras to Roubaix on Sunday.
Uran, the runner-up in last year's Tour, had the benefit of a rest day on Monday and has since braved two mountain stages, but finished 26 minutes behind Geraint Thomas on stage 11 on Wednesday.
The Colombian is now 31 minutes off the pace and, with his hopes of contending in the general classification gone, Uran has decided to focus on his recuperation.
"I didn't recover after the crash. Yesterday in the first real climb, all day, there was pain in my body," Uran said.
"It's difficult for me and also for my team. We prepared for this Tour, all season we were focused on the Tour.
“Today I have to share some bad news. I didn’t recover after the crash. Yesterday in the first real climb, all day, there was pain in my body.” - @UranRigoberto #PinkArgyle #TDF2018 leader Rigoberto Uran withdraws due to injuries: https://t.co/gvmAB4H6O7 pic.twitter.com/gDO7cuu5Rf— EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale (@Ride_Argyle) July 19, 2018
"Sometimes this happens, and this time, I think it's the best decision for me to recover and to recover well."
With their team leader out, EF Education First - Drapac will focus on simply winning stages for the remainder of the Tour.
"We'll miss Rigo of course – he's a great leader and a wonderful presence to have on the bus and with the staff," said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. "We look forward to getting him back healthy for the rest of the season.
"The guys that remain are fighters, and we have some chances coming up in the mountains. For us, another Tour begins."
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