First rider to abandon the 2016 Tour de France comes during stage eight's mountain test

Michael Morkov, who crashed heavily on stage one, is the first rider to abandon the 2016 Tour de France

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Michael Morkov (Katusha) has become the first rider of the 2016 Tour de France to call it quits, after struggling through the heat and difficult terrain of stage eight's mountain test through the Pyrenees.

The 103rd Tour has set a new all-time record for having no abandons in the race, reaching the start of stage eight with all 198 riders still in contention.

The full start list made it through Friday's initial mountain day over the Col d'Aspin, but the four categorised climbs, including the Col du Tourmalet and the Col de Peyresourde, have proved too much for Morkov.

Watch: Tour de France stage eight highlights

The Danish rider, in the Katusha team as part of Alexander Kristoff's lead out train, suffered a nasty crash in the final straight of stage one to Utah beach and has ridden on despite his injuries.

Morkov aimed to make it to the first rest day before assessing whether to continue, but a trio of tough mountain days in the south of France and Andorra were always going to be a tough ask.

The opening week of this year's Tour has been relatively crash free, and has presented less on course issues for the riders, unlike 2015's edition which featured a tough cross-wind stage, cobbles and a race to the Mur de Huy climb all in the first week of racing.

By stage eight in the 2015 edition, the race was down to 185 riders, particularly after a nasty crash on stage three.

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Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.


An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).