Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia and will begin preparations for the Tour de France his team have said.
“Caleb Ewan will not be at the start of stage twelve of the Giro. As initially planned, the Australian will leave the Giro during the second week of racing,” said his team.
“With plenty of mountain stages coming up, together with the team it was decided that Ewan will be heading home.
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“Following a short period of rest, the sprinter will build up towards his next big goal of the season, the Tour de France, where he will also be targeting victories in the sprint stages.”
The decision was expected with no more guaranteed bunch sprints left on the programme.
The pre-race focus was pinned on his duel with Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), but they have just one win between them after the Manx Missile’s victory on Stage 3 in Hungary.
Ewan’s misery began when he crashed on the opening stage before it was compounded when he lost to Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) in the tightest of photo finishes on Stage 6.
The Australian would have missed out on the sprint on Wednesday – the last pan-flat stage of this year’s race – but for the tireless efforts of team-mate Thomas De Gendt, who dragged him back into the main pack.
Even then, he was outshone in the final sprint as Alberto Dainese (DSM) took victory ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates). Ewan was fifth with Cavendish sixth.
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