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CUNEO, Italy (VN) – After two weeks when just about everything had gone right at the Giro d’Italia for Team DSM, thanks to a stage win for young sprinter Alberto Dainese and Romain Bardet riding into contention for the maglia rosa, the German team’s hopes for the rest of the race took a severe hit when their French leader was forced to abandon early on stage 13 due to sickness that had affected him since early in the previous stage.
“It’s a real shame,” said DSM team director Matt Winston just after the stage finish in Cuneo. “Yesterday, after about 10 kilometers of the stage, he started to be sick. We sort of carried him through the stage yesterday and looked after him as best as possible.
“But last night, it didn’t get any better. He couldn’t eat yesterday evening and he was awake most of the night with illness, so we were already a little bit in doubt this morning about how it would go and whether he would be able to start today,” Winston continued.
“In the end, we gave it a go, but it just wasn’t possible. Romain just wasn’t in good enough shape physically to continue.”
Winston said that no one else on the DSM had been affected by any kind of similar illness.
“Everybody else is OK, everybody’s healthy. We don’t know for sure what it is. But it’s sickness and diarrhea, a bug that has taken him out. But I’ll wait for the full doctor’s report,” Winston explained.
With their leader out of the race, DSM switched their immediate attention to sprinter Dainese, who had won two days earlier in Reggio Emilia.
“We gave it a good go with the sprint there and got fifth with Alberto, so we will continue with our sprint opportunities,” said the British director when asked what the team’s Plan B would be. “We still have Thymen Arensman in 11th on GC so we still have options there. But we will regather tonight and go from there.”