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Sport

Gilbert out of Tour de France as Lotto Soudal down to six riders

FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 213.5-km Stage 7 from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges, France - July 7, 2017 -Quick-Step Floors rider Philippe Gilbert of Belgium adjusts his glasses. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

NICE, France (Reuters) - Philippe Gilbert has pulled out of the Tour de France after the former world champion broke his knee cap, leaving the Lotto Soudal team with six riders on Sunday, down from eight after just one stage of the race.

The Belgian outfit said the 38-year-old would not be at the start of Sunday’s second stage around Nice after 2012 world champion Gilbert hit the ground in Saturday’s rain-hit opening, one of several riders to fall during the stage.

Team mate John Degenkolb was already out after the German finished outside the time limit on Saturday.

It has been a tough start to the Tour for Lotto Soudal, who already had to send home four staff members after two of them tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Sam Holmes

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