Cycling: Dane Morkov first rider to quit Tour de France

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BAGNÈRES-DE-LUCHON, France: Dane Michael Morkov was the first cyclist to abandon this year’s Tour de France during Saturday’s eighth stage in the Pyrenees.

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The 31-year-old had been struggling for a week since crashing badly on the opening stage and injuring his right thigh and both hands.

Morkov had plowed on gamely but started Saturday’s 184km stage from Pau to Bagneres de Luchon in last place of the 198-strong peloton, 1hr 38min behind race leader Greg Van Avermaet and almost 20 minutes behind the next rider.

He was in trouble from the start of Saturday’s stage as the peloton covered an incredible 51km in the first hour.

By the time the Katusha rider crested the first difficulty of the day, the hors category Tourmalet mountain, he was already 23 minutes behind the leaders.

News of his abandonment arrived with the peloton around 40km from the stage’s end.

It is unprecedented for the first abandonment to come so late in the grueling race. AFP

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