By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright AFP2004
Lotto’s sprint ace, Robbie McEwen, pulled out of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday to safeguard his chances of reclaiming the sprinter’s green jersey in the Tour de France.
“I’ve already had a lot of racing this season and I’ve got to think of the Tour de France,” said McEwen, second in Monday’s 15th stage behind Fassa Bortolo’s Alessandro Petacchi, before he flew home to Belgium.
It was the third year running he had pulled out of the Tour of Italy before the mountain stages.
“There’s no point in jeopardizing our chances in the Tour de France in the mountain stages here,” said his Lotto team chief Hendrik Redant.
The 31-year-old McEwen, who won two stages in each of the last two Giros, could win only one stage this year.
The Tour de France starts on July 3 at Liege in Belgium and the opening stages are scripted for sprinters like McEwen, the 2002 winner of the Tour de France green jersey.
Fellow Aussie Baden Cooke relieved the Brisbane rider of the green jersey in last year’s Tour.
“I was pretty disappointed at losing the green jersey last year,” McEwen said.