Marc Soler vomited multiple times during stage 16 of the Tour de France and missed the time cut by 15 minutes.
The Spaniard’s withdrawal from the race means that defending champion Tadej Pogačar only has four UAE-Team Emirates teammates remaining, following Covid positives for Vegard Stake Laengen and George Bennett earlier in the race.
Soler started feeling the effects of a stomach bug on Sunday evening ahead of the rest day, but did not recover in time ahead of the resumption of the race.
He took to the start in Carcassonne but was dropped by the peloton after 70km of racing. He was seen speaking to the race doctor, but even after being sick he refused his team’s invitation of climbing into the back of the car.
Come the finish, Soler crossed the line in Foix 57 minutes behind the stage winner Hugo Houle; the time limit, imposed at 16 percent of the quickest time, was 42-12.
“Since Sunday night I haven’t felt very good,” Soler told Cycling Weekly and Catalunya Ràdio. “I didn’t recover and today at the start I was bad. I wanted to vomit every time the pace quickened.
“When I begun [the stage] I couldn’t do more. I tried, I vomited, and I tried to get to the finish inside the time limit, but it wasn’t possible.
“I tried to finish [because] I think every rider in the team is important. The best is to try, but it wasn’t to be.”
Mauro Gianetti, UAE’s team principal, said before Soler’s delayed arrival to the team bus: “After a few kilometres he was vomiting. A stomach like this in a situation like this is very, very difficult.
“He didn’t want to stop - he wanted to continue and he wanted to keep suffering to see if he could arrive in time.”
Soler’s departure will be a boost to Jonas Vingegaard, the Jumbo-Visma rider keeping control of his yellow jersey on Tuesday despite three attempts by Pogačar to distance him.
Two stages remain in the Pyrenees before a 40.7km time trial on the penultimate day. Gianetti continued. “You have to grab the opportunity when it comes. For it to come you have to have the legs, and then you start [attacking].
“It could be whatever moment - maybe tomorrow or maybe not. Whatever opportunity comes you have to take a good look at it.”
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