Renshaw, part of Mark Cavendish’s Etixx-QuickStep team, revealed he’d started to notice the pain at the start of Stage 17’s final climb. That pain had not dissipated by the start of Stage 18, but he elected to start regardless to see if he could push through.
However, it wasn’t to be, and the 32 year old, who was faced with a Category 2 climb right from the outset of Stage 18, could not make it to the finish line.
Cavendish himself made light of the pain he and his fellow sprinters would face on the stage ahead of the start.
Renshaw, as it turned out, really was sick.
"I woke up with the same pain this morning. It's pain from really stiff muscles in my neck, and that pain from the stiffness has gone up into my head in the form of a migraine,” Renshaw said.
“Every hole, every bump, every rough part of the road I could feel the pain in the back of my head with this stiffness in my neck. I've never experienced anything like that before.
“Together with the team we decided it was best for me to stop. There is no way I could keep going like this. I already knew when I woke up this morning that it'd be hard to finish the stage. The pain was so intense and never lessened.
“It's a shame that I cannot finish this Tour de France after riding with my team-mates for two and a half weeks, especially since I was getting ready for Paris on Sunday and my legs were OK.
“I'm really sad about it, especially since I can't be there to help Mark Cavendish for the sprint on Sunday. But I will absolutely be there in Paris to give my full support to my team-mates in any way I can, and I wish them the best of luck in these final two days in the Alps before then."
For the remaining Australians in the race, life goes on, with Richie Porte still doing his best to assist Team Sky team-mate and race leader Chris Froome, which Michael Rogers is doing his part for Tinkoff-Saxo leader Alberton Contador, who lost time in a slip-up on Stage 17. Michael Matthews, of Orica-GreenEDGE, is also battling on and worked with the breakway for a while on Stage 18 while still recovering from the broken ribs he suffered in the horrendous crash of Stage 3, which took out his team-mate and fellow Australian Simon Gerrans.
The rest of the Orica-GreenEDGE outfit also had a fun day, before, during and after the stage, even picking up a young fan who had drawn a picture of the team bus stuck under the finish line from two Tours ago.
Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R) won the 186.5km stage to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.