Romain Bardet (Team DSM) has said he had no option but to abandon the Giro d’Italia, as illness left him “unable to pedal.”
The Frenchman has made a major return to form in 2022 and, after winning the Tour of the Alps, put himself into a challenging position at the Giro.
He began Stage 13 within 14 seconds of leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo), and was viewed as the main challenger to race favourite Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).
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However, he climbed off his bike early in the stage after being struck down with a sickness bug.
His team revealed he got no sleep on account of the sickness, and Bardet has said it was a miracle he finished the previous stage.
“I don't really know where to start, nor how to explain such a sudden turnaround,” Bardet wrote on Instagram. ”Since yesterday morning an intestinal virus has completely drained me.
"After miraculously surviving yesterday, the symptoms worsened last night.
“Despite all the help from the team today I had nothing to give, unable to pedal.
“It's hard to accept but there was nothing I could do. I just want to remember the great first half of the Giro that the whole team did.”
Bardet is now focused on his recovery and the rest of the season, which may see a Tour de France tilt. He made the podium in his home race in 2016 and 2017.
“There's no point in dwelling on things you can't control,” Bardet said. “I'll take the time to recover and come back. That's how sport goes.
“Thank you for your messages that warm my heart. And thank you to the entire Team-DSM team for their unfailing support.”
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