Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) cited injury and heat as the cause of his massive time loss on Giro d'Italia stage nine.
The Briton, a pre-race favourite for the overall title, shipped over 11 minutes to the other contenders on the final climb to Blockhaus. He had valiantly fought on to keep the time losses down after being initially dropped with over 11km to go, but eventually succumbed the effort and finished 11-15 behind stage winner Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe). Yates now occupies 25th place in GC at 11-11.
A crash on stage four to Mount Etna was the start of Yates' knee issues, but he safely navigated his way through the week's remaining stages before Blockhaus with his fifth place on GC intact. However he has since revealed he has been in pain since the race's first summit finish.
It wasn't just his heavily strapped right knee that caused him problems though, Yates said following the stage, as he also suffered in the heat of the day in central Italy.
"I was hopeful of still being able to try and do something," Yates said, "but I've been in a lot of [knee] pain since Etna.
"I've been trying to manage it as best as possible. It wasn't my only problem today. I suffered also with the heat."
The 29-year-old said he'll now take Monday's rest day to reassess his opportunities at the Giro and his condition.
"I'll see what happens now, we've got the rest day. I'll see how I pull up from the stage today."
Yates has had a turbulent relationship with the Giro since his debut in 2018, when he won three stages and led the race for 13 days before conceding it to compatriot Chris Froome. The 2019 and 2020 editions were fruitless for him, but he roared back in 2021 to take a sensational stage win to Alpe di Mera and finally grab an overall podium, finishing third.
The 2022 Giro continues on Tuesday with stage 10 and finishes on May 29 with a time trial in Verona.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1