Colombia's Mauricio Soler, who won the King of the Mountains title last year, was forced to pull out of the Tour de France on Wednesday because of an injured wrist.
Soler, who rides for the British-registered Barloworld team, fractured a bone in his left wrist in a crash on the chaotic 197.5km first stage of the tour on Saturday. He managed to complete the following three stages but was languishing down in 176th place nearly 18 minutes behind tour leader Stefan Schumacher on Wednesday when he decided to call it a day shortly after the start of the fifth stage.
"I couldn't even brake, it was painful each time I tried so it was starting to become dangerous for me," said the Colombian, who will now go home to Italy to consult a specialist.
It is the second setback for the Colombian this year at a major Tour. At the Giro d'Italia he also crashed in the opening stages.
Soler won his first stage upon his Tour debut last year, at Briançon in the Alps. That win, and his polka dot jersey, allowed him to be voted his country's sports personality of the year in 2007.
© AFP 2008