Valverde drops out with sore knee
MONTPELLIER, France -- Spain's Alejandro Valverde, who won the first Alpine stage and was fifth in the overall standings, dropped out of the Tour de France Friday.
The Illes-Balears rider has an inflamed left knee and was struggling to stay with the main pack of riders on stage 13 from Miramas to Montpellier.
He abandoned about 50 miles into the 107.8-mile stage, climbing into a team car in tears. He had been wearing the white jersey awarded to the best young rider.
"It's finished. It's the same problem as yesterday, with the pain," team manager Eusebio Unzue said. "We cannot take chances with his future. If Paris was closer, perhaps he would continue, but it is still far away."
The 25-year-old Valverde won the 10th stage to the ski station of Courchevel on Tuesday.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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