Bradley Wiggins, the winner of last year’s Tour de France, has pulled out of the Giro d’Italia due to illness, his team announced yesterday.
Sky Pro Cycling said a decision was taken to withdraw the 33-year-old before the start of the 13th stage from Busseto to Cherasco in northern Italy “due to a worsening chest infection.”
Wiggins had struggled in the race after a head cold turned into a chest infection and admitted on Thursday that he did not feel well.
Weather conditions, as well as the hilly Giro course, worked against Wiggins, who had hoped to become the first Briton to win the famous Grand Tour after his victory in France last year, but he dropped more than three minutes off the pace during Thursday’s 12th stage, struggling on a slippery descent to finish in 13th place overall, 5 minutes, 22 seconds behind the race leader, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali of Astana.
The stage was won by former world champion and former Sky rider Mark Cavendish.
“We monitored Bradley overnight and this morning we’ve withdrawn him from the Giro after consulting the team doctor,” Sky principal Dave Brailsford was quoted as saying on the team’s Web site. “Bradley will return to the UK today [Friday] for treatment and to rest, and we hope to have him back on the road as soon as possible.”
Despite going into the race without a hitch, Wiggins found the going tougher than expected.
He notably lost time in the early stages, falling on the seventh stage, and found himself unable to break free on descents made more treacherous by bad weather.
Wiggins was disappointed by being unable to regain time against the clock in the eighth stage, finishing 10 seconds behind former teammate Alex Dowsett.
As a result, he was only able to claw back a few seconds on Nibali.
Wiggins’ position became even more precarious on the hilly 10th stage where he lagged 37 seconds behind his supposed lieutenant, Colombian Rigoberto Uran.