Fabian Cancellara's Giro d'Italia time trial hopes faded on Sunday in Chianti with stomach flu recovery taking longer than he would have liked. He finished fourth behind stage winner Primož Roglič (Etixx-QuickStep) and left the race after the stage to focus on the remainder of the season.
Cancellara fell sick two days before the opening time trial in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. He was unable to fight for the stage win and pink jersey on day one as hoped and has paid since.
"A few days have gone now," said the 35-year-old Swiss, who retires this year. "I'm getting better, but I'm definitely not how I want to be. The first few days of the Giro were hard and with my stomach flu. I was definitely sick.
The four-time time trial world champion managed 52-13 minutes today in the 40.5-kilometre time trial through Chianti, which was only enough a fourth place.
"It was a tough one, a hard one, and not maybe the nicest one for my style of racing," Cancellara said after the stage.
"In the end, I paid a bit for trying to gain on the rider I saw in front of me. I went a bit over the edge and then I paid the price, but in the end, I could manage in the downhill to recover a bit. That's how it is. I knew it was my last [stage], so I did it all-in."
Watch: how will the GC contenders fare in the Giro's time trial
Cancellara only raced the Giro d'Italia twice before in his 16-year career. He hoped this year to add a stage win or a pink jersey to his long list of wins that includes stages and the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, monuments and time trial titles.
"What I like is that it is high-level racing, but really well organised. I have nothing to complain about, about the roads, or the transfers, bad days – there's nothing. In my 16 years, that hasn't happened a lot," Cancellara explained.
"Compared to the years I did it the last time, the Giro has made a nice step-up to a high level. This is how it has to be, a good level but not crazy high with the crowds like the Tour de France."
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