Pink jersey contender Romain Bardet (Team DSM) has abandoned the Giro d’Italia with illness.
A pedestrian start to Stage 13 was interrupted by an on-screen graphic declaring the Frenchman had withdrawn from the race, sparking a frantic head-count in the peloton to see if the bombshell news coming out of Italy was true. Minutes later, Bardet's exit was confirmed as he was pictured inside his team car on the run from San Remo to Cueno.
“We are sad to confirm Romain Bardet has abandoned he Giro,” said a statement from Team DSM.
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“After becoming sick during yesterday’s stage, his condition worsened overnight and despite all efforts he is no longer in a position to continue the race.”
Bardet has carried the weight of French cycling on his shoulders for some time now, and has often failed to live up to the hype, but arrived at the Giro on the back of an impressive win at the Tour of the Alps.
The 31-year-old was just 14 seconds off overall leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) prior to Friday's stage.
He was part of a trio of riders who had looked particularly impressive on the menacing Blockhaus climb on Stage 9, following a move from Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) along with Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) in the closing stages.
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