Lukas Pöstlberger has been forced to pull out of the Tour de France 2020 three days from Paris, after he was stung in the mouth by a bee.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider was stung in the early kilometres of stage 19 of the Tour, as riders tried to forced a breakaway on the road from Bourg-en-Bresse to Champagnole.
Pöstlberger was then seen visiting the race medical car without around 160km left of the stage and looked to be in a lot of discomfort.
Shortly after, Bora-Hansgrohe announced on Twitter that he had been forced to abandon the race because of the sting.
The team said: “A bee stung Lukas in the mouth. Hope he will be fine.
“Unfortunately he has had to abandon the race due to that incident.”
It’s a hugely disappointing way to leave the Tour for the Austrian, so close to the end.
The 28-year-old has been riding in support of the team, particularly of Peter Sagan as he continues to fight for the points classification.
But Sagan will now be a rider down with two pivotal stages remaining in the green jersey competition, as the former world champion will be looking to sweep up as many points as possible on stage 19.
Then it’s on to Paris where Sagan will be looking for sprint victory on the Champs Élysées, in the hope of overturning Sam Bennett’s (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) lead in the competition.
Pöstlberger is not the only rider to leave the race so close to the finish, as NTT Pro Cycling rider Michael Gogl didn’t start stage 19.
Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) also withdrew from the race before the start of the stage to focus on the rest of his goals for the season.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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