Chris Froome was forced to abandon the Tour de France on Thursday as the four-time champion tested positive for COVID-19.
The British rider was 26th overall after Wednesday’s Stage 17, having spent more than 69 hours on the road for the Israel Premier-Tech team.
The 37-year-old achieved his best Tour stage result since 2018 when he finished third on stage 12 of Alpe d’Huez.
After a huge crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphine, Froome was left in intensive care with multiple serious injuries. He looked nailed for his best overall result in a Grand Tour since then as the riders edged closer to the finish in Paris on Sunday.
However, in a video message posted to his Twitter page, Froome said he had received “pretty disappointing news”.
“A test revealed that I have contracted COVID, so I will not be starting today,” he said.
“I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t ride to Paris and finish this Tour de France. It was an extremely special race for us as a team and me personally too. I got my legs back.
“I will go home now, switch off for a few days and refocus to be ready for the Vuelta a Espana later this season.”
The Vuelta starts in the Netherlands on August 19, with a first time trial in Utrecht, before moving to Spain from the fourth stage.