Super-domestique Mikel Nieve was forced to abandon the Tour de France during Wednesday Stage 17.

The 36-year-old Spaniard had been aiding Adam Yates on the mountain stages, but the Mitchelton-Scott team leader will be without his strongest deputy for the remainder of the Tour.

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It is the first time Nieve has failed to finish a Grand Tour, with him making it to the end of all previous 18 Tours in his career.

Nieve has six top ten finishes to his name in Grand Tours and had never finished lower than 25th in the Giro, Vuelta or Tour, earning him a reputation as one of the leading super-domestique's in world cycling.

He was 48th going into Wednesday's Stage 17.

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