ETNA, Italy (AFP) — Australian Rohan Dennis pulled out of the Giro d’Italia during stage 4 to the summit of Mount Etna in Sicily as he continued to suffer from injuries sustained in a crash Sunday.
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Dennis’s maiden Giro started in disastrous fashion. The BMC rider suffered injuries in a high-speed spill on stage 3 that left him with severe road rash and complaining of a sore head and neck.
Despite receiving physiotherapy on Monday’s rest day, Dennis — a former world record holder for track cycling’s hour event — failed to recover sufficiently to continue.
He started the 181km ride from Cefalu to Mount Etna, the first summit finish of the race.
But a message by BMC, posted on its Twitter account three hours after the start, said the 26-year-old was out of the race. This does not bode well for American Tejay van Garderen’s overall aspirations in Italy, as Dennis was expected to be a key support rider and perhaps even a back-up team leader.
The Giro d’Italia, where Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is the defending champion, began in Sardinia on May 5 and finishes in Milan on May 28.