Marcel Kittel was "inconsolable" after having to withdraw from the Tour de France on Stage 17 Wednesday following a crash.
Five stage wins had catapulted Kittel into the green jersey, but a crash 20 kilometres into the stage led to him abandoning the race at the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer climb.
"Now it is over. Unfortunately, I won't make it to Paris this year," Kittel wrote on his website. "The crash today was the knock-out punch. Five kilometres before the summit of the Col de la Croix de Fer I let my two helpers know that I couldn't go on and that I would climb off my bike at the top.
"That way they at least had the chance to finish within the time limit. I am inconsolable over the abandon[ment], not bringing the green jersey home, and not being able to sprint for the win in Paris.
"But the bruises on my bottom and shoulder were too painful to continue the race, especially since I had been weakened anyway by stomach problems for a few days and a cold but still tried to make my way through to the Champs-Elysees.
"I still have the five wins."
Kittel's withdrawal saw Michael Matthews take control of the green jersey with just four stages of this year's race remaining.