Chris Froome has been ruled out of the rest of the Tour de France after contracting Covid.

The diagnosis ends an inspired effort by the four-time champion following his career-threatening crash three years ago.

After almost not finding a place in a team for this year’s race, the Brit rewarded Israel Premier Tech by taking third place on stage 12 atop L’Alpe d’Huez in his best performance for the team.

“A test has revealed that I have contracted COVID so I am not going to be taking the start today,” Froome said in a video on Twitter just as stage 18 was beginning.

“I’m really disappointed not to be able to roll into Paris and finish off this Tour de France… I am going to head home now, switch off for a few days and refocus on being ready for Vuelta a Espana later this season.”

During his best finish on stage 12 he was fighting for the first victory in more than 1,500 days, a position he found himself in for the first time since a freak crash left him with multiple fractures at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine.

Chris Froome sat 26th in the overall standings when his tour ended prematurely but the 37-year-old has vowed to go on the attack on the Tour again, fuelled by a renewed motivation after losing faith last year.

Israel-Premier Tech have had a dazzling Tour de France, winning two stages through Australian Simon Clarke and Canadian Hugo Houle.

“It’s been very special for me as well. I’ve been finding my legs and I want to thank everyone for the support through this process.”

Jonas Vingegaard continues to lead the Tour de France after the latest stage extending the gap massively after the final mountain stage as defending champion Tadej Pogacar continues to fall short.

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