Caleb Ewan responds after Eddy Merckx says he disrespected the Giro d'Italia by abandoning

The Australian says he's 'more disappointed than anyone' after climbing off before the end of the Italian Grand Tour's first week

Caleb Ewan at the 2021 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty)

Caleb Ewan has said he's "more disappointed than anyone" to have abandoned the Giro d'Italia before the end of the first week after finding himself unable to deal with the knee pain he started experiencing at the beginning of stage eight.

"Thanks to all the people sending nice 'get well soon' messages," Ewan said.

"I've done some stuff with my positioning to help the knee pain I've felt since the start of stage eight. Once it's completely gone I'll resume my training to prepare for the Tour."

Ewan was expected to abandon the Giro d'Italia at some point as he chases his season goal of winning a stage at each Grand Tour this year, saying after his second win on stage seven that if he went on to finish the race he'd "be dying for the next few months".

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Since abandoning on stage eight while wearing the maglia ciclamino, citing knee pain, Ewan has been accused of disrespecting the race, with Eddy Merckx saying the Australian's abandon "bothers me enormously" and that it shows "a total lack of professionalism and lack of respect for the Giro and the sport of cycling. He deserves a sanction."

Ewan has responded by saying that if anyone knew how much work he'd put in prior to the Giro they wouldn't be doubting the legitimacy of his need to abandon the race.

"Honestly, it'll be hard to watch the sprint today at the Giro d'Italia and also on the 13th stage as I felt my form was coming into its best," the Lotto-Soudal rider said.

"To the people who think I've disrespected the race, I'm sorry you feel that way. If you saw the hard work and dedication I've put into my preparation to honour this race and perform at my best I'm sure you wouldn't think the same. I'm more disappointed than anyone."

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