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Gilbert pulls out of Tour de France with illness

Martin James
18 Jul 2017

Belgian's abandonment a blow to Dan Martin's GC hopes and Kittel's lead-out train

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert of Quick-Step Floors has pulled out of the 2017 Tour de France with illness as the race resumes after the second rest day in Le Puy-en-Velay.

Gilbert has been suffering from viral gastroenteritis and didn’t start Stage 16 this morning, a ride of 165km to Romans-sur-Isere.

Gilbert won the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold earlier this year and was racing in the Belgian national champion’s jersey, and had been seen as a key ally at the Tour both for Dan Martin’s GC bid and Marcel Kittel’s campaign to win the green points jersey.

Gilbert (35), who moved to Quick-Step Floors this season after five years with BMC Racing, recently signed a two-year extension with the team. He was lying 79th overall, and finished fourth on Saturday’s 14th stage behind Michael Matthews.

On departing the race, Gilbert said he was ‘sad to leave the best team’ at the Tour, and wished his teammates well for the rest of the race.

Quick-Step Floors has had a fantastic 2017 thus far, with Gilbert’s successes in the spring having been followed by Fernando Gaviria’s four stage wins at the Giro and Kittel’s five at the Tour to date.

Martin, meanwhile, lies fifth overall going into the final six stages of the Tour, just 1:12sec down on race leader Chris Froome.