Giacomo Nizzolo has abandoned the Tour de France 2020 on stage eight.
The newly crowned European champion had put in a promising first week of the Tour, taking a podium place early in the race, but he was forced to step off the bike on the mountains between Cazères and Loudenvielle.
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Nizzolo had been struggling with a knee injury and the tough climbing day on stage eight was a tall ask, with the NTT Pro Cycling rider getting into the team car with just over 80km left to race.
His team said on Twitter: “Very sad news, our Italian & European champion has been forced to abandon Le Tour. Details to follow post stage.”
Nizzolo, who is also the Italian national champion, took seventh after a chaotic opening stage to the Tour in Nice, then followed up with third place on stage three from Nice to Sisteron.
The 31-year-old then narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish on stage five to Privas, taking 11th at the line.
Speaking after his podium finish, Nizzolo said: “I’m definitely happy about the commitment of the guys, we did everything we could.
“Obviously in the final it could have been better for us but it also could have definitely been worse.
“I had to start the sprint early because I was scared that if I dropped the speed that we would be caught from behind so it was a super long sprint but performance-wise I’m happy and I think that in the team we are really looking forward to the next sprint.”
Nizzolo has been in outstanding form in 2020, taking a stage of the Tour Down Under in January, then finishing second in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and winning the second stage of Paris-Nice.
After the coronavirus lockdown, he rode to fifth in Milan-San Remo then won back to back in the Italian National Championships and the European Championships in the week before the Tour started.
He had planned to race the Classics this autumn, but will he instead opt for the Giro d’Italia in the hopes of taking a Grand Tour stage in his home race.