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United States' best rider abandons 2015 Tour de France due to illness

Tejay Van Garderen was on his way to a podium finish in Paris before falling ill on the first day on the Alps.

Tejay Van Garderen abandoned the 2015 Tour de France after battling illness Wednesday on Stage 17, the first in the Alps. Van Garderen struggled to keep contact with the peloton early in the stage, ultimately abandoning midway through the 161-kilometer ride to Pra Loup. BMC Racing said that he was suffering from headaches.

He was in third place on the general classification, behind Chris Froome in first and Nairo Quintana in second. He appeared to be much more confident heading into the 2015 Tour, after falling short of the podium in his last four Tour appearances, which included two fifth-place finishes.

He was also the best American rider in the Tour by a wide margin. Andrew Talansky is now the top-ranked American in the standings at 17th before the end of Wednesday's stage.

Van Garderen was expected to take advantage of the Alps, which feature longer, more gradual climbs that are better suited to his riding style. His abandonment ends what was, to date, an incredible ride.

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