Russian rider BREAKS RIB, crashes out of Tour de France before start line days after nervy descent denies him win (VIDEO)

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Ilnur Zakarin has been forced to concede that he had “no way to continue the race” after suffering an agonizing rib break in a pre-race accident, putting him out of the Tour de France despite his attempts to join the 12th stage.

Two-time Russian national champion Zakarin has seen his dreams cruelly dashed within the space of four painful days at the gruelling race.

The Cyprus-based Russian had established a comfortable-looking lead around 22 miles from the finish of stage eight on Saturday, only to make an uncertain descent on the Pyrenees that fans derided and commentators described as “horrible”.

His tour took a turn for the worse as he fell before stage 11 had even started on Wednesday, colliding with two other riders on a roundabout before dusting himself off to take part in the stage.

After a sleepless night of discomfort, the 30-year-old started the 12th stage but ended up leaving in a medical car.

“I was upset as I was really looking forward to several mountain stages and wanted to try,” rued the formidable climber. “But there is no way to continue the race. Hopefully the recovery will go quickly.”

The former Sochi Grand Prix and Tour de Romandie had battled through to finish 136th at the previous stage, more than four minutes behind the winner.

“Ilnur Zakarin was involved in a crash in the neutral zone of stage 11,” said the team’s Dr Daniele Zaccaria, who ordered “conservative therapies” to be carried out in a bid to allow Zakarin to continue competing.

“X-Rays performed at the finish in Poitiers confirmed a non-displaced fracture of the sixth left rib.”

Zakarin’s only stage win at the tour came in 2016, although he picked up a win at the Giro d’Italia last year, adding to his previous stage victory there in 2015.

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