Giro d'Italia

Greipel, Boonen, Matthews abandon Giro as race approaches high mountains

Avoiding a challenging final week in the mountains, several sprinters are leaving Italy to recuperate in preparation for later season goals

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With a challenging week of high mountains on the docket, several fast-finishers have called it a Giro after two weeks of racing.

Lotto-Soudal’s designated sprinter André Greipel and his leadout man Greg Henderson came to the Giro d’Italia with a stage win in mind and Greipel’s stage 6 victory in Castiglione della Pescaia, his third career victory in the Giro d’Italia, achieved that goal. Now, as the race approaches a stretch of climber-friendly days, the speedy duo will look to recover some strength for July’s Tour de France, an event in which Greipel has taken six individual stage wins so far. Neither rider was at the startline for the stage 14 individual time trial.

“I’m happy we won one stage, but I had hoped for one more,” Greipel said.

“The next stages are for GC riders. Considering the goals that are still coming we decided to quit the Giro. The Giro itself was definitely a nice experience. Now it’s time for recuperation. The Tour de France is of course the next big goal. To prepare [for] that I’ll probably start in the ZLM Toer and possibly the Tour de Luxembourg.”

Fast-finishing Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick-Step) was another DNS for the stage 14 time trial, abandoning the Giro after making his first ever start in the race two weeks ago, as was Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), who wore the pink jersey early on in the race. With Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) also out of the Giro following an earlier crash, the list of sprinters in attendance has thinned considerably since the riders set out from San Lorenzo al Mare.