July 19, 2018 / 2:29 PM / 4 months ago

Cycling: Sprinters' field ravaged as Gaviria, Groenewegen and Greipel pull out

FILE PHOTO: LottoNL-Jumbo rider Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands wins stage 7. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

L’ALPE D’HUEZ, France (Reuters) - A day after Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish missed the time cut, three more top sprinters abandoned the Tour de France on Thursday as the efforts from the first block of racing in the constant heat took their toll.

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen and Colombian Fernando Gaviria, winners of two stages each, had no fuel left in the tank in a grueling 175.5-km ride from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to the iconic Alpe d’Huez.

“Unfortunately, the brutal course and extreme heat took their toll on Tour de France debutant Fernando Gaviria, who pulled out of the race,” Gaviria’s Quick-Step Floors team said.

German Andre Greipel also pulled out.

With five sprinters now out of the race, world champion Peter Sagan has a golden opportunity to win the green jersey for the points classification for a record-equaling sixth time.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Clare Fallon

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