Tour de France shorts: Sky one man down ahead of the Alps

Sky one man down ahead of the Alps as Kennaugh abandons due to illness

Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh has abandoned the Tour de France after a bout of sickness, leaving the team with eight riders as the race heads into its final week in the Alps. Kennaugh pulled out of stage 16 roughly 50km into the race from Bourg-de-Péage to Gap.

"Pete has been suffering from a respiratory illness for the last two days," confirmed team Doctor Richard Usher. "He had been recovering and felt better ahead of the start, but the combination of the heat today and the fast start in the peloton made it extremely difficult and he felt like he was lacking power in his legs. He's obviously very disappointed and will now head home to rest and recover."

Overall race leader Chris Froome also commented on losing his teammate, noting that the team will have to share more of the workload.

"It's really unfortunate that we lost Pete today, he's had a tough couple of days, feeling a bit ill, and yesterday was a tough day of chasing. Now we are going to have to try and share the work between us and get through the next four stages, before the Champs-Élysées stage."

Degenkolb philosophical in defeat

John Degenkolb is still looking for his first Tour de France stage win, and will now have to wait until the final stage in Paris for his next chance. The Giant-Alpecin rider was second on Sunday’s stage behind fellow German André Greipel.

“This was one of the best chances that this Tour has offered me so far,” he said on his personal website. “I didn’t do much wrong. André was simply too strong today. He is in a super form. I simply could not get by him. The win for him is in order. Congratulations.”

His plan now is to survive until next Sunday, by taking it as easy in possible during the Alpine stages. “I will try to conserve as much strength as possible in the next days. There will hopefully be a sprint in Paris and we want to go for the win. The decisive thing there will be which sprinter is freshest after all the torture.”

Van Avermaet gets the baby call

Greg Van Avermaet has left the Tour de France, returning home to attend the birth of his first child. He got the call Monday morning that “the baby was coming a little earlier”. The BMC rider told his partner that he would come home on thTuesday rest day, “but she said she might not make it that long.”

“I hope I make it on time,” he concluded. He admitted that it was not easy to leave the Tour and his teammates.

Van Avermaet won the 13th stage. He tweeted “Time to leave ‪@letour! Wanna to stay as long as possible to support ‪@BMCProTeam but now I can be more useful at home. ‪#goodluck"

Cyclingnews Tour de France podcast episode 18: Sagan’s attributes, Froome’s weight and Thomas’ crash

In the latest episode of the Cyclingnews Tour de France podcast sponsored by British Eurosport, Stephen Farrand, Zeb Woodpower, and Barry Ryan are joined by special guest Pierre Carrey of the Libération newspaper in France to discuss all the events of stage 16 from Bourg-de-Péage to Gap.

The twisting Col de Manse descent again provided lots to talk about as Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) rode into Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) on a corner and sent him off the side of the road. Thomas showed he is made of Welsh granite and was soon up but our reporters on the race discuss and analyse who caused the crash.

Chris Froome also caused further debate by agreeing to releasing some of his performance data and revealed his race weight was between 67-68kg. He also said he was against former dopers being television pundits and asked why he has faced far more scrutiny than other recent Grand Tour winners.

Pierre Carrey defended the reporting of the French media on Froome and Team Sky insisting there is no bias or campaign against Froome.

To subscribe to the Tour de France podcast on iTunes, click here (opens in new tab), and go here for our full Tour de France coverage.

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