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Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data) has withdrawn from the 2018 Giro d’Italia, citing an illness.
The 26-year-old South African, who rode to eighth overall at last year’s Tour de France, made his Giro debut with general classification aspirations. He struggled from the gun. Set back from stage 1 by an underwhelming showing in the opening time trial in Jerusalem, he lost time in the early mountain stages as well.
“Unfortunately, Louis has come down with what seems to be a viral upper respiratory infection,” team doctor Adrian Rotunno said via a press release. “He has systemic symptoms including fever which preclude him from participating further in the Giro for fear of dangerous complications.”
Meintjes was sitting 46th overall when he pulled out of the race after the stage 16 individual time trial.
“It’s obviously really disappointing to have to stop the Giro d’Italia in the final week but my body just doesn’t want to cooperate,” Meintjes said.
“I felt my condition was gradually improving during the race and I was looking forward to playing a role at the three upcoming mountain stages but it is just not possible.”