Giro d'Italia

Brent Bookwalter forced to leave Giro d’Italia with injury

Vincenzo Nibali also loses key helper as Giro d'Italia rolls on.

American veteran Brent Bookwalter (Mitchelton-Scott) did not start Thursday’s sixth stage at the Giro d’Italia.

The U.S. pro crashed early in the Giro, and despite pushing through several stages, pain and the possibility of further injury forced him out of the Italian grand tour.

“Suffered and hung on the past three days,” Bookwalter said. “I hoped and believed things would improve, but after increasing pain, decreasing function, and this morning’s x-rays it became clear that this Giro was done for me.”

Team officials said scans conducted Thursday morning confirmed a possible fracture in the lumbar vertebra (L3), and evidence of a “compression that warrant further investigation.”

Bookwalter, 36, finished nearly last in Wednesday’s stage and was clearly suffering. This was Bookwalter’s fifth Giro start, and he was a key support rider for Simon Yates as the team pushes for the podium in this Giro.

Also Wednesday, veteran rider Pieter Weening (Trek-Segafredo) was forced to abandon following a crash when he hit a water bottle in the roadway. The 39-year-old was signed midway through this season, and his exit means Vincenzo Nibali will also be missing a key helper going into the second half of the Giro.