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Romain Bardet has been forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia due to illness.
The Frenchman, who sat fourth in the overall classification, 14 seconds in arrears to race leader Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), had looked poised to make a challenge for the maglia rosa in the Giro’s mountainous third week.
However, after falling ill on stage 12, his condition worsened overnight and he climbed off after 35km of stage 13.
“We are sad to confirm that Romain Bardet has abandoned the Giro,” Team DSM said in a statement.
“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 seemed rejuvenated after his victory at the preparatory Tour of the Alps, building anticipation that he could be back to his best GC form.
Over the opening couple of weeks at the Italian Grand Tour he had backed this up, limiting losses in the stage 2 Budapest time trial before finishing with the top GC contenders on the mountain tests of Mount Etna and Blockhaus.
He sat only two seconds behind Ineos Grenadiers’ Richard Carapaz and UAE Team Emirates’ João Almeida and was set to be part of the third week GC showdown, but now abandons only his second Grand Tour in 12 appearances, the other being the 2020 Tour de France.