Richard Carapaz is out of the Vuelta a España after failing to finish stage 14, saying he's "totally empty".
The Ecuadorian arrived at the Spanish Grand Tour resplendent with new gold affectations after winning the Tokyo Olympics road race and as one of a number of Ineos Grenadiers riders potentially able to contest the red jersey alongside Egan Bernal and Adam Yates.
The 28-year-old has struggled in the second week, however, often finishing well off the pace and finally called it a day en route to the summit finish of stage 14.
“I wanted to support the team here at the Vuelta a España and have gone out there everyday and given it my all, but unfortunately I’ve suffered with the heat and have ended totally empty," Richard Carapaz said after climbing off.
"Now I’m going to recover and reset my goals. I am very proud of what I have achieved this season, and will work hard to build on this and keep moving forward, and will fight to achieve more success.”
Carapaz becomes the twentieth rider to abandon this year's Spanish Grand Tour, other big names including Bora-Hansgrohe's Maximilian Schachmann, Alpecin-Fenix's Jasper Philipsen, Movistar's Alejandro Valverde and EF Education-Nippo's Hugh Carthy.
Alongside his Olympic title, Carapaz finished third overall at the Tour de France, his first podium appearance at that race, as well as winning the Tour de Suisse.
Ineos Grenadiers face an uphill battle to take anything away from this Vuelta. Giro d'Italia winner Egan Bernal has admitted he isn't on top form and currently sits seventh overall, nearly three minutes behind Jumbo-Visma's Primož Roglič.
Meanwhile, Adam Yates, who has shown flashes of strong climbing legs this race, is eighth overall, a further 30 seconds in arrears.
Seven stages remain in the Vuelta, with a number of tough mountain tests still ahead to decide the GC battle.
Thank you for reading 20 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