Tour de France 2017: George Bennett forced to pull out due to illness

  • 19/07/2017

George Bennett's 2017 Tour de France campaign is over after the 27-year-old was forced to pull out of the race due to illness.

It ends a campaign which had lifted the 27-year-old to 12th in the overall standings.

Poised to finish as the best-placed New Zealander on general classification in the history of the Tour, Bennett was simply unable to stay on the pace on Tuesday.

"Yesterday it came on insanely bad, [I was] just completely crippled in bed with a fever all night," Bennett told Newshub Sport.

"[I'm] devastated. I put my whole life on hold and the whole season was for this, and to go home like that, it's just the worst really."

The Nelson-born rider was given clearance to start Stage 16, but he was being overtaken by sprinters on climbs, ultimately ending up with no choice but to pull the plug.

"When you've got a fever like that, you actually get into dangerous territory.

"When you're trying to ride up a hill and you've got cold sweats and there's nothing in your legs and you're getting dropped by Marcel Kittel [on the climb], that's your number I guess."

The illness prematurely ends what has been one of Bennett's best and most impressive performances in the first 15 stages of the event.

His exit leaves three Kiwis left in the race with Jack Bauer, Patrick Bevin and Dion Smith all playing support rider roles, the former apart of Kittel's support team who holds the green jersey.