Cycling: Van den Broeck injures knee, withdraws from Tour

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (AFP) - Belgian rider Jurgen van den Broeck, tipped as a candidate to finish on the Tour de France podium, was forced to withdraw from cycling's grandest race before Thursday's sixth stage.

His Lotto team confirmed that he would not take part in the stage from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier after suffering a knee injury when falling in a crash in the final kilometre of Wednesday's ride into Marseille.

Van den Broeck, 30, has twice finished fourth on the Tour, in 2010 and 2012. However, the Belgian was also forced to pull out of the 2011 Tour following a fall.

His withdrawal follows that of Frenchman Maxime Bouet (AG2R), who fractured a forearm in the same crash on Wednesday.