ARCALIS, Andorra (REUTERS, AFP) - Twice Tour de France winner Alberto Contador pulled out of the classic cycling race during the ninth stage, a 184.5km ride from Vielha Val d'Aran, on Sunday.
The Spaniard, who had a fever in the morning, was injured down his right side after crashing twice in the two opening stages, got off his bike and stepped into a Tinkoff team car with about 104km left in the stage.
The 2007 and 2009 champion went into the stage in 20th place, more than three minutes behind overall leader Chris Froome.
"Alberto had a bit of fever this morning. He told us at the beginning of the race that he wasn't feeling super and it's obvious," Tinkoff sports director Sean Yates told French television.
Contador, one of only six men with titles in all three grand tours (France, Italy, Spain), quickly faded away and rolled down to his team car several times.
He called it quits on the second of the day's four climbs in the Pyrenees.
"It's bad news for me, it was my last chance to win the Tour de France," said team owner Oleg Tinkov, who is pulling out of cycling at the end of the year. "But who knows maybe I'll come back in a few years."
Contador, 33, crashed out of the Tour in 2014 and finished fifth last year after winning the Giro d'Italia.