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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: Simon Yates abandons race with knee injury

British climber and double stage winner abandons Giro after struggling with 'edema of the bony spongiosa of the patella' since stage 4.

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Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) climbed off his bike and left the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.

Yates’ team confirmed with around 40km to go of stage 17 that the British climber had abandoned his rollercoaster ride through the race.

“Yates’ fall on Mount Etna and subsequent knee problem (likely edema of the bony spongiosa of the patella) weighed down on the rider for all following stages of the Giro d’Italia,” team medic Dr. Matteo Beltemacchi said Wednesday.

“Despite daily therapy and Simon’s tenacity, that resulted in a second stage win, the knee pain grew worse and worse, eventually leading to the decision for his retirement from the race.”

The BikeExchange-Jayco captain flew high in the Budapest “big start” with a TT victory and made it two with his solo attack on the roads into Torino on stage 14.

After being touted a top contender for the pink jersey and climbing high in the initial week of the race, a crash and knocked knee on the roads toward Etna on stage 4 left Yates swinging on the Blockhaus summit later that week.

The 29-year-old crumbled out of GC contention on the cruel Abruzzan ascent and lost more than 11 minutes on top rivals Jai Hindley and Richard Carapaz.

Even a sixth Giro stage career victory while nursing his bad knee in an all-attacking stage through the hills out Torino on Saturday couldn’t provide much succor.

“I came here to win the race,” Yates said Saturday. “For me it’s another stage. I have five already and it’s number six.”

Yates indicated before this year’s Giro it could be his last for some time after racing for the maglia rosa for the past five years.

“I’ve been thinking about abandoning just because I was still having problems with my knee,” he said Saturday. “The mental aspect wasn’t really there. I came here to fight for the overall and I was doing nothing, and I was at the back. Today has given me more morale and maybe I can fight for more stages.”

The rumor mill churned through the past week that Yates could call time on the Giro and refocus on the Tour, providing BikeExchange a second option alongside star sprinter Dylan Groenewegen.