Eight more riders abandon Giro, Belgian teams heaviest hit
After the exit of Remco Evenepoel, the Giro d'Italia keeps losing riders. Another eight riders dropped out on Wednesday morning, leaving only five Giro teams complete, with the Belgian teams among the heaviest hit. Of the 176 riders who started the Giro, 142 remain.
Only five Giro teams are still completely in the race, with eight riders. The Belgian teams are the most afflicted: Evenepoel's Soudal-Quick Step has only three riders left in the race, and Alpecin-Deceuninck and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty both have five.
"They should have taken measures at the beginning of this Giro"
With Italian Filippo Ganna and Remco Evenepoel, the tour has lost two of its main attractions. The organisation is heavily criticised for its lack of COVID-19 measures before the start of the race.
"They should have taken measures at the beginning of this Giro," Flemish commentator José De Cauwer told Radio 1. "There were COVID-19 cases before the start, the virus was already circulating. But they waited until the pink jersey had to leave the Giro and then started panicking."
Although not all the exits are due to the virus: the cold and rainy weather has also left its mark. After losing over 10 minutes of time during Tuesday's stage, Jay Vine wrote on Instagram that it was "the coldest I've ever gotten", while winner Magnus Cort Nielsen described it as "one of the hardest days I’ve spent on the bike".
The Giro is now halfway: ten more stages await after Wednesday's 11th stage.
Andrea Vendrame is evacuated on a stretcher after falling down on the arrival of the fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia 2023. © Luca Bettini / AFP