Hugh Carthy abandons Giro d'Italia

 Hugh Carthy at the finish of stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia
Hugh Carthy at the finish of stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia

The Giro d'Italia has lost another high-profile rider, with Hugh Carthy pulling out ahead of stage 19 after suffering with stomach issues.

The British climber finished 24th on Thursday's mountainous stage 18, four and a half minutes down on the leading general classification contenders.

As a result, he dropped to 14th overall, after starting the day 11th, his Giro already going far below his pre-race hopes.

The 28-year-old, who has previously finished on the podium of the Vuelta a España and top-five in the Giro, had been expected to make up ground in the mountainous final week but has only suffered, also losing more than four minutes on stage 16.

The cause of the sub-par performances has now been revealed, with stomach issues meaning Carthy won't make it to Rome to finish the race in two days' time.

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"Hugh Carthy won’t be able to start today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia. He has been struggling with stomach issues for a few days so he’ll return home to rest and recover," read a statement from the EF Education-EasyPost team.

"Great effort, Hugh."

Carthy is the latest abandon in what is one of the most attritional editions of the Giro in recent memory, with a wave of stomach problems, respiratory illnesses, and crashes, heavily depleting the peloton.

Carthy is the 51st rider to leave the race, meaning there are just 125 remaining from the original crop of 176 starters.

Pre-race favourite Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) left the race after winning the stage 9 time trial and testing positive for COVID-19, with the virus taking out Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) soon after. The second week also saw the loss of another key GC contender in Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), who crashed and broke his hip.