The Latest: World champion Kwiatkowski out of Tour de France

PRA LOUP, France (AP) — The Latest from the Tour de France (all times local):

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4:40 p.m.

Race organizers say the Tour de France’s tough Stage 17, an Alpine route after Tuesday’s rest day, has claimed another rider.

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski of the Etixx-Quick Step team joins five others who have already pulled out before the finish at the Pra Loup ski station.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.

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4:10 p.m.

Stage 17 of the Tour de France is taking a toll, with five riders dropping out so far before the finish at the Pra Loup ski station.

Tejay van Gaderen, who was third, is the highest-placed rider to abandon.

Race organizers say the others who have dropped out on the road are Sam Bennett with Bora-Argon 18, Nathan Haas of Cannondale-Garmin and Jerome Coppel of IAM Cycling.

Organizers also say Laurent Didier of Trek Factory Racing was not among the 168 riders who started Wednesday in Digne-Les-Bains.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.

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3:50 p.m.

Greg LeMond says some riders have put motors in their bikes to cheat in cycling’s biggest races, including the Tour de France.

Speaking to The Associated Press during Stage 17 of the Tour, the three-time winner of the race said: “I believe it’s been used in racing. I believe it’s been used sometimes in the Grand Tours.”

The International Cycling Union says it has checked bikes for motors at this Tour and found none.

LeMond, however, feels “they’re not doing enough” and described the UCI’s checks as “fluff” and “all words.”

-By Jamey Keaten, Pra Loup, France.

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3:20 p.m.

It’s all over for Tejay van Garderen.

French TV’s live coverage of Stage 17 has just shown the American leader of the BMC team clambering off his bike on a climb and getting into a car.

His withdrawal frees up space at the top-end of the overall rankings. He had started Wednesday’s stage in third place overall, 3 minutes, 32 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome.

BMC team officials wrapped their arms around his shoulders to comfort the 26-year-old American. Clearly hurting and apparently ill following Tuesday’s rest day, Van Garderen was dropped on the first of five climbs. He later caught up the peloton but was dropped again on the third climb and abandoned the race.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.

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2:40 p.m.

A clearly hurting Tejay van Garderen, the American leader of the BMC team, is sick and at risk of losing his podium spot on Stage 17 of the Tour de France.

Van Garderen started Wednesday’s stage in third place overall, 3 minutes, 32 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome. But he has been dropped by Froome and the main pack on the first of five climbs in the first day in the Alps and his team has just said on French television’s live coverage that he is ill.

Drips of sweat rolling down his nose, Van Garderen was shown shaking his head as he rides.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.

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1:30 p.m.

The biggest difficulty on Stage 17 and the Tour’s first day in the Alps isn’t uphill, but downhill.

A 16-kilometer (10-mile) descent from the Allos mountain pass into a valley before the final climb to the Pra Loup ski station is treacherous because of its bends and uneven road surface.

Eddy Seigneur, sporting director of the IAM team, told the race organizers’ website before the start on Wednesday in Digne-Les-Bains that the downhill is “extremely dangerous,” and “the key of the stage.”

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.

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1:05 p.m.

The Tour de France pack is off and running on the first of four grueling days in the Alps with Chris Froome looking to protect his yellow jersey from his biggest rivals.

Wednesday’s Stage 17 takes the peloton over four climbs to an uphill finish over the 161-kilometer (100-mile) romp from Digne-les-Bains to the Pra Loup ski station.

On the second and final rest day on Tuesday, several top riders pointed to the harrowing descent from the Allos pass — Wednesday’s toughest climb — as the main hazard in the stage.

Race aficionados are expecting defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, one of the best downhill riders, to try to reduce his deficit of 7 minutes, 49 seconds. The Italian lies eighth.

The Latest: World champion Kwiatkowski out of Tour de France