We are approaching the halfway mark at the Giro d’Italia with over 180 riders left in the race.  Some have dropped out, others have opted not to start stages; and others have been pulled out in rather unusual circumstances.  Here are some notable names you won’t see for the rest of the Giro d’Italia.

Fabian Cancellara – Trek-Segafredo

Alas poor Spartacus.  I highly doubt that sympathy will do for Fabian Cancellara; but needless to say this is not how his Giro d’Italia was meant to unfold.  Despite finishing a respectable fourth in the individual time trial in stage nine, Cancellara will be the first to admit to being out of sorts largely due to the illness that he contracted just before the race began in the Netherlands.  He was eighth in the opening time trial, which – although good – was far from what he would have wanted.  From there it’s been a case not of challenging for the maglia rosa but of holding on to the back of the bunch; not something that the great man is accustomed to.  He will not start stage 10.

An exhausted and sick Fabian Cancellara was dejected at the end of the Giro d'Italia opening time trial, photo Sirotti
An exhausted and sick Fabian Cancellara was dejected at the end of the Giro d’Italia opening time trial, photo Sirotti

Marcel Kittel – Etixx-Quick Step

One of two German sprinters to destroy the Italian fast finishers and all other contenders in the sprints so far; Marcel Kittel leaves with his head held high.  Two stages went his way and a stint in the maglia rosa; and a stint in the red points leader’s jersey.  He’s had a great race but has made the decision to call it time on the Giro d’Italia.  In a team statement Kittel mentioned that the length of the season is part of his reason for stopping, the World Championships later in Qatar are set to add extra length to his 2016.  So for now he has done to the Giro what Mario Cipollini did to the Tour de France; and left before things got too tough.

Elia Viviani – Team Sky

Elia Viviani celebrated his first stage win in the Giro d’Italia, his home grand tour, last year.  But with Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel obliterating the field time after time in the sprints, there has simply been nothing there for anyone else.  But that is not why he will not be starting stage 10.  Viviani failed to make the time cut in stage 8 to Arezzo after the dirt climb and general all out toughness of the stage got the better of him.  It is a testament to the difficulty of the course, that we have not even reached the toughest stages of this year’s Giro and it is shedding riders already who struggle to make it inside the time limit.

Marcel Kittel leaves the Giro with his head held high, one of two dominant German forces in the sprints of Italy, photo Sirotti
Marcel Kittel leaves the Giro with his head held high, one of two dominant German forces in the sprints of Italy, photo Sirotti

Alexey Tsatevich – Katusha

While all the above have left the Giro d’Italia for reasonably conventional reasons, the departure of Alexey Tsatevich is anything but conventional.  It is a basic rule of thumb that in an individual time trial you do not draft.  Well, that’s what happened when Tsatevich was caught by Tobias Ludvigsson of GIANT-Alpecin.  After drafting behind the rider Tsatevich was penalised by the UCI race commissaires.  He was given a 100CHF fine and 6.48mins time penalty.  That would have been enough, but not for Katusha.  In a remarkable move by the squad, Katusha decided to punish the rider themselves, ejecting him from the Giro d’Italia, with Dmitry Konyshev saying in a team statement, “He absolutely ignored the team plan for the day, provided and requested by the sports director.  His behaviour has a huge and negative impact on the image of cycling in general and Team Katusha in particular.  Accepting the commissaires penalty was not enough for us; we had to take more severe measures.

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