Team Sky’s Richie Porte has called time on his Giro d’Italia after sustaining knee and hip injuries in the crash late in stage 13.
The Aussie ace had suffered a nightmare second week, having been third overall and little more than 20 seconds off the lead on the first rest day, he tumbled down the overall standings in the intervening week.
A puncture on stage ten, followed by a time penalty when Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) gave him his wheel, and then the stage 13 crash all-but-obliterated his hopes of challenging for the pink jersey.
And after struggling through the injury in Saturday’s time trial, and Sunday’s mountainous stage to the Madonna di Campiglio, Sky decided to pull Porte out on the second rest day.
He told the team website: “The Giro has been my main goal this year and I’ve worked incredibly hard all season with this race in mind.
“I’ve had a lot of back luck this week with the puncture and the time penalty, but it was the crash on Friday that has taken its toll.
“I fell heavily on my knee and hip which caused me a lot of pain on Saturday’s time trial and yesterday’s stage. I just wanted to keep trying and give it everything but now the medical team have advised me not to continue.
“I’m gutted it’s ended this way and that I can’t stay and support Leo, Elia and the team in the last week. They’ve been outstanding every step of the way and to not be able to repay that is tough.
“The plan for me now is to take some time off the bike, get the medical treatment that I need and reset my goals for the rest of the season and come back fighting. Hopefully I can get myself ready for the Tour team.”
Team-mate Leopold Konig’s performance on the Madonna di Campiglio means he is now fifth overall, 2’17” off the final podium place currently occupied by Andrey Amador (Movistar).
Elia Viviani, meanwhile, is in the red jersey, level on points with Giacomo Nizzolo atop the points classification and leading courtesy of his stage win.
With six stages left and their original team leader now out of the reckoning, Sky will be expected to support the two men as they bid to add to Viviani and Vasili Kiryienka’s stage wins and end the race on a high note.