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The British star won two stages, but a first-week crash derailed his GC ambitions, and Team BikeExchange-Jayco sport director Matt White said there was no reason to keep pushing on.
“We made the decision with our medical staff and with Simon that the best thing to do was to not keep going, because the risk was too high and the injury could become worse,” White told EuroSport at the start of Thursday’s stage.
Also read: Knee injury takes out Simon Yates at Giro
Yates failed to finish Wednesday’s 17th stage after bouncing back to win stage 14 into Torino. Nagging knee pain, however, led the team to make the decision to pull out its star rider.
Speculation is already growing that Yates, a winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España, might reload for the Tour de France.
White said there are no firm dates on Yates’ calendar and that recovery is the priority right now.
“Right now it’s just getting healthy. He’s already on the way home and will have a check up in Barcelona,” White said. “It’s too early to say what’s next. The most important thing is just to recover.”
— Team BikeExchange-Jayco (@GreenEDGEteam) May 25, 2022
BikeExchange-Jayco rolls on Thursday, and White said the team will keep knocking on the doors of breakaways in the closing days of the Giro.
“We don’t have a sprinter for [Thursday’s] stage, but we have a few guys who might try their luck,” White said. “We have some riders who have been getting into the breakaways and there will be a few more chances this weekend.”
White said Matteo Sobrero, fourth in the climbing time trial in stage 2 that Yates won back in Budapest, will be saving his matches for Sunday’s final time trial in Verona.
“Sobrero will now be a favorite for the time trial, so let’s see how he can go,” White said. “A lot of guys are not here anymore, like Dumoulin and Almeida, and the others will be a bit tired.”
With two wins already in the bag, BikeExchange-Jayco can leave with something in the pocket, but White said the team won’t let the closing four stages unfold without at least making a run for more.