UAE Team Emirates’ Rafal Majka has been forced to abandon the 2022 Tour de France due to injury before the start of stage 17.
In what will be a further blow to Tadej Pogačar’s bid for a third consecutive yellow jersey, Majka suffered a thigh injury during a mechanical incident on stage 16, when his chain broke on the final climb before the finish in Foix. The chain snap tore his right quadricep and he is now unable to ride due to muscle damage.
UAE Team Emirates are now down to four riders after Vegard Stake Laengen and George Bennett both had to withdraw following Covid-19 positives and Marc Soler finished outside the time limit on stage 16 after succumbing to illness during the stage.
“Majka sustained a strain injury to his thigh after some mechanical trouble on stage 16 when his chain broke,” UAE Team Emirates doctor Adrian Rotunno said in a statement. “This resulted in a high-grade partial thickness tear of his right quadriceps muscle, and unfortunately due to the muscle damage is unable to ride.”
Pogačar is now left with Mikkel Bjerg, Brandon McNulty and Marc Hirschi, the last of whom has also been struggling for form and fitness so far this Tour. As the race approaches two big final days in the Pyrenees, Pogačar will be left with few resources to aid him in the battle to take the yellow jersey back off Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard.
Ahead of stage 17, from Saint-Gaudens to Peyragudes, the two-time Slovenian Tour winner trails the Vingegaard by two minutes and 22 seconds.