Tour de France champion Egan Bernal failed to start stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné today after suffering back problems. The Team Ineos rider had been sitting seventh overall, 31 seconds behind race leader and Tour rival Primoz Roglic.
Pavel Sivakov was the lead finisher for Ineos on stage three with Bernal slipping back on the final climb.
The Colombian had told his team-mate he was “not feeling super” midway through the stage – although it’s unclear whether that was anything to do with what has precipitated today’s withdrawal.
The team have not yet officially commented on the reasons why Bernal has abandoned, but Geraint Thomas told Cycling News his team-mate had back pain.
"He's got a bit of a bad back and the best thing for him is to just take it easy. It's such a short turn around to the Tour that it's important he gets it 100 per cent right and be good then.
“I don't think it's a major issue, it's just better to be on the side of caution. He's had two races before this as well, so he's got the racing that he needs. It's just about making sure that everything is 100 per cent there and that there are no issues."