Mikel Landa has abandoned the 2021 Vuelta a España after struggling to find his top form.
The Bahrain Victorious rider came into the race with a very strong team and optimism after he took the overall title at the Vuelta a Burgos, but that quickly faded as it became clear he did not have the legs to stay with the best riders at the race.
Landa abandoned on stage 17 after going on a solo move to try and get across to the day's breakaway.
In a statement posted by his team, Landa said: "I have not been feeling at my best over the past week, and since the Giro injury, it has been a long road to recover and be ready for this race.
"In Burgos, the feeling was good, but a Grand Tour is a different race."
Landa crashed out of the Giro d'Italia on stage five where he broke his collarbone as well as several other fractures meaning he did not race again until Clásica de San Sebastián in late July.
"Today [stage 17] I tried to get the feeling with an attack to go in the break, but I still was not feeling good." Continued Landa.
"I now need to focus on the following goals and get back to my best. I wish the guys and Jack [Haig] to keep going strong and fight for the podium in GC."
Haig is currently the team's best-placed rider in fourth place at 3-46 behind race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). However, he is currently 35 seconds off Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) and the podium.
Gino Mäder is also in the top ten for the team after putting in a brilliant performance over the first two and a half weeks with Wout Poels and Damiano Caruso also performing well.
Stage 18 of the Vuelta a España is another mountain stage from Salas to Altu d'El Gamoniteiru with the brutal final climb coming after 162.6km.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1