Lotto-Soudal down to just two riders at the Giro d'Italia 2021 after Thomas De Gendt abandons

The team have struggled with injuries since Caleb Ewan left the race

Thomas De Gendt at the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Belgian squad Lotto-Soudal are now down to just two riders at the Giro d'Italia as Thomas De Gendt is the latest member of the squad to leave the race.

De Gendt, usually in multiple breakaways in Grand Tours, hasn't been able to get up the road at all due to pain in his knee. His abandonment means that only Stefano Oldani and Harm Vanhoucke remain in the race.

De Gendt tweeted this morning: "With tears in my eyes and pain in the knee I have to say goodbye to the Giro. I could not perform on my normal level the last 2 weeks and there was no improvement. The only right decision that could be made at this moment. I’m sorry to leave my 2 teammates behind."

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Lotto-Soudal had a successful start to the race with sprinter Caleb Ewan taking two stages and the lead in the points classification before abandoning the race, also with knee pain. The Australian was due to leave the race early anyway as he looks to win a stage in every Grand Tour in 2021.

Polish rider Tomasz Marczyński was the next to go as he was suffering from long-Covid. Soon after him, Jasper De Buyst abandoned.

Kobe Goossens put in several excellent breakaway efforts but eventually also abandoned the race due to pains after a crash.

>>> This is the new route for stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021

After that, it was Roger Kluge, who was sitting in second-to-last place overall in the standings. He stepped off the bike with knee issues as well on the Monte Zoncolan stage.

This leaves Oldani and Vanhoucke, who were both in the breakaway on stage 15, yesterday.

Officially, the team can now downgrade to a camper van if they see the team bus as too big. This is allowed when a team has three or fewer riders left in the squad at a race. The two remaining riders will be hoping to hold on for the final week of the race.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.