World Champion Rui Costa forced to retire from 2014 Tour de France after X-rays confirm lung infection

Road race world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) has withdrawn from the Tour de France ahead of stage 16 after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Costa had been suffering with bronchitis in the past week, and was already being treated with antibiotics. Despite his condition, Costa was 13th overall in the race.

After his health deteriorated during Monday’s second rest day, doctors undertook further examinations of the 27 year old. X-rays confirmed that he is suffering from pneumonia – ruling the Portugese rider out of the remainder of the race.

“Rui Costa was very willing to continue and respect the Tour, therefore he wanted to get through the night in order to assess his condition in the morning, but the persistent state of not feeling well and the risk of forfeiting the rest of the season has convinced the world champion to retire from the race,” said a Lampre-Merida team statement issued on Tuesday morning.

Costa went into the Tour with ambitions to appear on the general classification podium in Paris, then revised his aims to stage wins after losing time. Now, he’ll head home to recuperate for the remainder of the season.

Costa is the fourth Lampre-Merida rider to leave the Tour to date, with Sacha Modolo, Maximiliano Richeze and Rafael Valls all previously retired. It leaves the Italian team with five riders in the race.