Giro d'Italia
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Dumoulin’s exit leaves Giro GC hole

Tom Dumoulin's early exit will mean one fewer favorite for the 102nd Giro d'Italia

TERRACINA, Italy (VN) — Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) bravely started Wednesday’s fifth stage, but the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner didn’t last very long.

Dumoulin didn’t even make it out of the neutral start of Wednesday’s wet stage before he clipped out of the pedals. Barely a day after crashing, his Giro was over.

“I tried this morning, and it kind of felt OK,” Dumoulin said. “But in the end, it was not possible to continue. It’s a shame because I came to this Giro in very good condition.”

Dumoulin’s exit leaves a big hole in the GC picture at the 102nd Giro.

Dumoulin had the time trial ability and experience of winning a grand tour to mount a serious challenge for the overall victory. A winner in 2017 and runner-up last year, Dumoulin put the Giro at the center of his racing season because three major time trials are featured in this year’s route.

“For me its terrible. Months and weeks of preparation and dedication went into this Giro and in one moment it’s over,” Dumoulin said. “I came here for a three-week adventure and I wanted to finish it. I’m not ready to go home.”

Without Dumoulin, the GC battle is shaping up to be a four-rider fight. Overnight leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is looking pretty in pink, and could hold the maglia rosa for several more days leading up to the decisive time trial at San Marino in stage 9.

Others nibbling on his heels include Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Vuelta a España champion Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), all within one minute of Roglic.

“It’s a shame what happened to Tom,” said two-time winner Nibali. “It’s always better when all the best riders are in the race.”

Dumoulin’s exit is the first major name to leave the race. Before the Giro even started, Colombian sensation Egan Bernal (Ineos) suffered a pre-race training crash and did not start.

Dumoulin will regroup and recover from his injury, and likely prepare to race the Tour de France in July.

“It’s not how I wanted it to go of course, but it is how it is,” Dumoulin said. “I don’t know how bad the injury is. We only know that nothing is broken and it will probably just be swollen for a few days, but we have to see. For now I will just rest and see how it goes.”

Dani Navarro (Katusha-Alpecin) also crashed out of Tuesday’s stage and was transported to a local hospital with several injuries, including a broken collarbone, cracked ribs, a punctured lung and bruising to his chest.