Chris Froome admitted his frustration after he was forced to withdraw from the Vuelta a Espana with a fractured bone in his foot.
The 30-year-old was bidding to become just the third rider in history to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta in the same year, and the first since the latter event was moved towards the end of the season.
But disaster struck in Wednesday’s 11th stage when an early crash saw him end up conceding more than eight minutes to Italian race leader Fabio Aru.
And there was more bad news when scans confirmed that he had fractured a bone in his foot, forcing him to not take to the start for stage 12.
"I'm really gutted to be leaving the race but the injuries that I sustained on yesterday's stage were too much to continue,” Froome told teamsky.com.
"I hit my right side heavily and the main impact went on my right foot.
"I was desperate to dig in and finish the stage and my team-mates did brilliantly to get me through it, but as soon as I got off the bike I couldn't put any weight on my right side.
"An MRI scan has shown that I have fractured navicular bone in my right foot, so now I'll work with our medical team on making a full recovery.
"This is a great group of guys and I would love to have fought on with them until the end. I wish them all the best with the remainder of the race and I'll be cheering them on from home.
"I'd also like to thank the fans for all their support and get well messages. I'll be back soon."
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