Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has abandoned the Tour of the Basque Country to recover from a crash on the race's third stage, in which he finished last and dropped from second on GC to 77th.
On Thursday morning the team announced the Frenchman's exit, saying: "After being assessed by the doctors and given the injuries incurred yesterday and the weather conditions in the race, the team decided it's best that he stops and focuses on his recovery. We'll continue to monitor his progress ahead of the Ardennes."
Alaphilippe was caught in large crash with only six kilometres left on the stage, with other GC contenders also hitting the ground. He received medical attention at the scene before getting back on the bike and making his way to the finish line.
That evening on the team's website he said: "It doesn't look to be anything serious, but I have some abrasions and pain, so the team will continue to monitor me overnight.”
2019 has so far been a sterling season for Alaphilippe, with his victory in Milan-San Remo topping the list. He won the second stage in the Basque Country for his eighth win of the year. He leads the peloton with most victories and is also atop the UCI's WorldTour ranking.
Coming up for Alaphilippe are the Ardennes Classics, with Amstel Gold Race a week on Sunday, then La Flèche Wallonne - which he won last year - on the following Wednesday and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on the final Sunday of April.