Suffering from lower back problems, Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) has been forced to abandon the Tour de France after the race’s 15th stage. The Dutchman had been sitting in 132nd place overall.

“Over the last few days Wilco has been experiencing back pain and some stiffness,” explained Team Sunweb physician Anko Boelens. “The pain has begun to intensify as the race progresses and consequently he can’t push the watts on the pedals. Coming back from injury (neck fracture, Catalunya) has proved demanding on Wilco’s body and the intensity of it shouldn’t be underestimated. Rather than push it and search for the limit, it’s best for Wilco to head home to recover and have further treatment so he can look to the next part of the season.”

Kelderman said: “It’s super disappointing to leave the race like this, especially with some good stages in the mountains coming up. Sometimes the body doesn’t react completely as you want it to after a difficult period with injury. I’ll head home now to take time to recover and set new goals.”

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said: “We’re sad to see Wilco head home, but his health of course comes first. He’s had a good two weeks of racing after a heavy crash which needed a long recovery period. Now he can focus on rest, treatment and his next races. Our focus remains the same; keep fighting for that top stage result.”

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