18 May 2013

Big names pull out of Giro

6:00 pm on 18 May 2013

This year's Giro d'Italia claimed two major victims when pre-race favourite Bradley Wiggins and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal withdrew on Friday citing illness as the reason for abandoning the tour.

Wiggins enjoyed a stellar 2012 when he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and backed that up with a time trial gold medal at the London Olympics before turning his attention towards adding to those titles in Italy.

He looked strong early in the 21-stage race but gradually slipped out of contention, blaming his poor performance on a chest infection that eventually led to his withdrawal.

The Briton's withdrawal came shortly after defending champion Hesjedal also abandoned the race.

Hesjedal became Canada's first Giro d'Italia winner last year when he edged out Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez by 16 seconds in the final day's time trial in Milan.