Sport Caleb Ewan withdraws from Giro d'Italia
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Caleb Ewan has pulled out of cycling's Giro d'Italia less than 24 hours after he sprinted to his second stage victory in three days.
The Australian sprint star had set off on Saturday wearing a grand tour points leader's jersey for the first time but decided to abandon the race an hour into the demanding eighth stage from Foggia to Guardia Sanframondi.
The Sydneysider's abandonment was not a huge surprise as he had never planned to complete the three-week race, with his sights set on also winning sprinters' stages at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.
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But it was still a little unexpected after just a week of racing on the Italian roads, where the 26-year-old had shown himself to be in supreme form with his lightning finishes on the fifth and seventh stages.
After his win in Termoli on Friday, Ewan had reiterated to reporters that there was no way he would complete the Giro.
"I need to do what's best in preparation for the Tour," he said.
"Unfortunately, sprinters' legs don't recover in the same way that any other riders do, and if I finished the Giro now I would be dying for the next few months.
"This year so far has been very tough with the weather and a lot of guys' legs are hurting a lot.
"I have to make sure I don't go so deep because if you do, it's hard to start again in the next Tour."
Ewan, who will return to his Monaco base to train, wants to be in prime form to start the Tour de France with his Lotto Soudal team on June 26.
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Aussie Chris Hamilton came within centimetres of a maiden Grand Tour stage win, but was still delighted with his performance.Hamilton fell just short on an undulating 212km stage from Siena to Bagno di Romagna, that featured 4,000 metres of climbing, losing out to Italian rider Andrea Vendrame after five hours, 43 minutes in the saddle.