The news was released Wednesday evening by Evenepoel’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step team.
Evenepoel was one of multiple riders in the GC group to crash on the descent off the Passo di San Valentino as the group rumbled to the base of the day’s final ascent. TV cameras caught sight of Evenepoel swooping through a tight right-hand turn before he struck the metal guardrail, as other riders in front of him hit the tarmac.
While other riders scrambled to catch back to the group, Evenepoel remained at the scene. He eventually got back on a bicycle and finished the stage, crossing the line 36:38 down on stage winner Dan Martin.
According to the team Evenepoel was examined by a team doctor following the stage, and the examination revealed no broken bones. Still, Evenepoel suffered skin lacerations and contusions in his left hand, knee, and side.
“In the end it was a crash that shouldn’t have happened, I don’t know what really happened in front of me, but I came into the corner and saw some guys on the ground and I couldn’t pass on the right side because I was next to another guy, so I didn’t have any chances to avoid a crash,” Evenepoel said in a release. “For now, there isn’t anything broken, but I have a lot of contusions, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to carry on with this pain. So I go back to Belgium and go for some CT scans. Then we will see.”
Evenepoel came into the stage sitting in 19th place on general classification following a tough second week of the Giro that saw him lose major time on the shortened stage 17 through the Dolomites.
The abandonment marks the end of Evenepoel’s much-hyped grand tour debut. Just 21 Evenepoel has already won multiple weeklong stage races, including the Tour of Poland. A crash at the 2020 Il Lombardia saw Evenepoel fracture his pelvis and spend multiple months away from the sport. It also kept him from starting the 2020 Giro, which was to have been his grand tour debut.
“Of course it’s sad to leave the race, and my first Grand Tour too early, but in the end, it was a nice experience and I hope to be back one day again,” he said. “I’m wishing the best to all my Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates for the remaining stages.”