GRENOBLE, France (AP) -- Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has pulled out of the race ahead of a mammoth stage in the Alps.
His Ineos Grenadiers team confirmed the withdrawal on Wednesday.
Bernal had been struggling since Friday's stage in the Jura mountains, where he dropped more than seven minutes on the main contenders and slipped out of contention.
Hampered by back pain, the 23-year-old rider lost more time during Tuesday's first Alpine stage.
Bernal was 16th overall.