Fernando Gaviria has abandoned the Giro d’Italia on stage seven.
The Colombian sprint star leaves the race with a single stage victory, handed to him after rival Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was relegated for dangerous sprinting.
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His UAE Team Emirates outfit said Gaviria had been suffering with pain in his knee, which mean he couldn’t continue.
The team said on Twitter: “After a strong first week, Fernando Gaviria has been forced to quit the race due to pain in his left knee which he’s had for the last few days.”
Gaviria finished second at the line but was handed victory after the race jury ruled Viviani had cut across Trek-Segafredo’s Matteo Moschetti in the sprint, later saying “in my view Viviani is the winner.”
This was followed by the shock news that Juan Sebastian Molano had been pulled from the race ahead of stage four due to “unusual physiological results” found during internal testing.
The Colombian has been suspended by the team while the results are investigated.
In another change of fortune, UAE Team Emirates moved into the pink jersey as Valerio Conti was given enough space in the breakaway to take the lead from Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič on stage six.
Amidst the drama in the Giro d’Italia, UAE Team Emirates were also hit by the news that their rider Kristijan Durasek had been linked with the Operation Aderlass blood doping scandal.
Durasek was pulled from the Tour of California and provisionally suspended by the UCI after the governing body was passed information by Austrian authorities.
UAE Team Emirates said: “The team hopes that Durasek can prove he was not involved in the affair. Should it be proven otherwise, he will be terminated immediately.”