Twenty-six-year-old BMC rider Tejay van Garderen dropped out of the Tour de France on Wednesday due to illness, according to VeloNews. The American was in third place at the start of Stage 17, from Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup, three minutes and 32 seconds behind Tour leader Chris Froome.
At about 40 kilometers into the 161-kilometer stage, van Garderen began to fall behind the main peloton. With roughly 75 kilometers to go, he stopped and was assisted by BMC Racing staff.
Van Garderen had been suffering from a chest infection since Stage 13, but BMC Racing officials did not anticipate that the ailment would become a major issue.
“We started the stage thinking it would be okay,” Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing’s manager told reporters. “I feel bad for Tejay. I feel bad for the team. We’ve raced hard up to this point. He’s disappointed. He would have liked to have finished this Tour.”
This is the first time van Garderen has abandoned a Grand Tour. Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, from team Movistar, has moved into third place.