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Tour de Suisse up next as Cancellara pulls plug on Giro

Fabian Cancellara ends his Giro d'Italia after an untimely illness prior to the race and a long spring of hard racing.

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MODENA, Italy (VN) — Every race is a “last” for Fabian Cancellara in his farewell season, and the Swiss superstar said “arrivederci” to the Giro d’Italia over the weekend.

Cancellara fell sick just ahead of the Giro’s start, and was unable to realize his dream of capturing the pink jersey. Despite riding in dry conditions in Sunday’s time trial, Cancellara could only muster fourth. With nothing but a heavy string of climbing stages on the horizon, Cancellara decided it was best to exit the Italian grand tour in only his third career start of the corsa rosa.

“I leave the Giro now, and look forward now,” Cancellara said. “I think it was quite hard to manage the sickness during the first days, and we have to look what comes after and calculate. This is the best situation and best moment to leave and continue for what’s next.”

The 35-year-old’s next confirmed race is the Tour de Suisse, with a likely start at the Tour de France to follow. With a possible return to the Olympic Games in August as well, Trek – Segafredo general manager Luca Guercilena said it’s time for Cancellara to take a breather.

“He needs to recover now, or he will compromise the rest of the season. He had been really going à bloc since February so it’s time that he takes a breath,” Guercilena said. “Fabian did not fully recover from his fever in the first days, because normally on a parcours like this he would be near the level of the top three riders, or podium, and it’s clear it is not the case.”

Cancellara’s farewell season started out with a bang, with a win at the Mallorca Challenge, time trial victories at the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico, along with an emphatic victory at Strade Bianche that boded well for the spring classics.

Cancellara was among the strongest in the northern classics, notching second at Tour of Flanders, and fourth at both E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, only to crash in his final Paris-Roubaix. Cancellara was hoping to win the pink jersey at the Giro to reach the milestone of having worn the leader’s jersey at all three grand tours.

What will be Cancellara’s final race? Cancellara still hasn’t decided. Whether he finishes out the full season, and races the world championships in Qatar, remains to be seen. With a start at the Giro di Lombardia highly unlikely (a race he’s never started), Italy has seen the last of Cancellara as a professional bike racer.