Veteran Italian rider Filippo Pozzato will miss the 2018 Giro d’Italia, flying back home from Israel on Wednesday after his father was taken ill.
According to reports, Pozzato’s father has been in hospital for several days but his health has now worsened. Pozzato was already in Jerusalem with his Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia team and preparing for Friday’s 9.7km time trial around the streets of the city which kicks off the 101st edition of the Giro.
The 36-year-old received a call from his family on Wednesday morning about his father’s health, having already completed UCI medical checks ahead of the race.
He then took the next available flight out of nearby city Tel Aviv to visit his father at San Bortolo Hospital in Vicenza.
Italian team Wilier have replaced their biggest name rider with compatriot Alex Turrin, who was the team’s first reserve. 25-year-old Turrin will now fly into Israel to make his maiden Grand Tour appearance at the Giro, having been given the ok to take to the start as a late replacement by the UCI.
Pozzato will understandably miss what could be his last appearance at the Giro, with a possible retirement on the cards at the end of the 2018 season, having turned professional back in 2000 with the Mapei-Quick Step team.
More known for his Classics prowess, having won Milan-San Remo and E3 Harelbeke in the past, Pozzato has one Giro stage victory to his name, taking the win on stage 12 of the 2010 race to Porto Recanati, where he won a sprint from a reduced group.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia runs from May 4 to May 27, with three stages taking place in Israel to open the race, before a rest day and the resumption of the race in Italy on stage four.