Chris Froome, defending champion of the Tour de France, dropped out of the bicycle race today after three crashes in two days.
Froome got into a Team Sky car and was driven off after his second crash of the day about 85 kilometers (53 miles) into the rainy fifth stage. The 152.5-kilometer route from Ypres in Belgium to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in northern France included two sections of cobblestones that Froome had yet to reach.
“Despite being able to return to his feet, the 29-year-old was clearly in pain and after consulting with Team Doctor Alan Farrell and Sports Director Nicolas Portal, he climbed into the team car,” Team Sky said in a statement on its website.
Froome completed back-to-back Tour de France victories for Britain and Team Sky in winning the centenary edition last year. Sky selected the 6-foot-1 (1.86-meter), Kenyan-born rider to lead the team over Bradley Wiggins, the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012 and a gold medalist at the London Olympics. Wiggins was left out of the squad.
Froome had medical attention on his wrist during the race yesterday after a crash that ripped his clothing and left his hand bleeding. He was cleared to start today’s stage after an X-ray.
Vincenzo Nibali, the Italian national champion riding for Astana Pro Team, holds the yellow jersey of the race leader after five days. Lars Boom of the Netherlands won today’s stage in 3:18:35.
British sprinter Mark Cavendish, who won 25 stages of the Tour de France from 2008 to 2013, crashed out on the first day. He posted a picture of himself on Twitter today emerging from shoulder surgery around the same time Froome withdrew.
This year’s edition of the bicycle race started in Leeds, England, on July 5 and finishes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 27.