Lukas Postlberger of Austria is treated by medics during the Stage 19 of the Tour de France after having a reaction to a bee sting. Christophe Ena/Associated Press

CHAMPAGNOLE, France — Having ridden almost 2,000 miles over four mountain ranges, Tour de France rider Lukas Postlberger was forced by a bee sting to the mouth to abandon Friday with the finish in Paris just two days away.

The Austrian rider, who has devoted his Tour to helping team leader Peter Sagan in his quest for the race’s green jersey, suffered an allergic reaction to the sting. He was taken to the hospital but quickly recovered and “is already feeling better again,” his Bora-Hansgrohe team said.

“Our team doc had him just on the phone and we can confirm nobody has to worry anymore. But thank you for all our support!” the team said.

The Tour was only a few minutes into the 103-mile Stage 19, from Bourg-en-Bresse to Champagnole in eastern France, when the insect struck. Bora said it was a bee. Race organizers said it was a wasp.

His withdrawal left the Tour with 146 riders, 30 fewer than when it started nearly three weeks ago.

Danish rider Soren Kragh Andersen, who won Stage 14 doubled down and raised his arms in victory again on Stage 19.

Behind him, saving their last reserves of strength for a time trial on Saturday that will decide the Tour podium, race leader Primoz Roglic and his rivals preferred to coast to the finish while Andersen hared off for the prestige of the stage victory. He left 11 other riders he’d been with in a breakaway for dead with an acceleration 10 miles from the finish in Champagnole in eastern France.

He held up two fingers at the line – one for each of his stage wins.

The focus now shifts to the time trial where Roglic will be aiming to secure his first Tour title, and the first by a Slovenian.

“So far, so good. I’m feeling good,” he said. “It’s all on me.”

And if he suffers a mishap, Slovenia will still have a second chance, because countryman Tadej Pogacar is second overall.

Just 57 seconds separate Roglic and Pogacar. That lead should be ample for Roglic, the winner of time trials last year at the Spanish Vuelta and at the Giro d’Italia. But it could wither with a tumble, a bad breakdown or other accident on the tricky course into the Vosges, the last of five mountain ranges scaled by this Tour.


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