The pack climbs Montvernier road during the twelfth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 175.5 kilometers (109 miles) with start in Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs and Alpe d'Huez, France, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

3 more top sprinters out of Tour de France

July 19, 2018 - 10:00 am

ALPE D'HUEZ, France (AP) — Three more of the Tour de France's top sprinters have succumbed in the Alps.

Fernando Gaviria of Colombia, Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands, and Andrew Greipel of Germany all withdrew during Stage 12 on Thursday.

Gaviria won the opening stage on his Tour debut and backed that up by claiming the fourth stage, while Groenewegen won bunch sprints at the end of Stages 7 and 8.

Greipel has 11 career stage wins at the world's top three-week race.

All three pulled out midway through the grueling 175.5-kilometer (109-mile) leg that featured three beyond-category climbs, concluding in an ascent to the iconic Alpe d'Huez summit.

Their withdrawals come a day after sprinters Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel, who have 44 combined Tour stage wins, failed to make the time cut on another mountain stage.

With the race heading to the Pyrenees in the final week, there are only two flat stages left before the traditional finish in Paris.

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