“I slid out on a downhill and took a hit to my right knee that didn’t seem to have major consequences,” he said in a team press release. “It was after the stage in Orvieto, where I took second place, that the pain to my kneecap started getting worse. Friday, on the climb at Montevergine I tried taking it easy. I wanted to hang in there until Monday to try and make the most out of the rest day, but unfortunately today after only a few kilometres I realised I was not in a position to continue.
“After consulting with the team’s technical staff I decided to pull out. I’m really disappointed that I have to leave the race like this,” Duarte continued. “This was my first Giro and it meant a lot to me to be able to do my best, to be able to help Menchov and Sastre, especially on the climbs.”
Directeur Sportif Daniele Nardello was sorry to see the 24-year-old leave the race. “In this first week at the Giro Duarte looked like he was in great shape. Particularly on the major climbs in this Giro he could have had an important role within the team.”
But there was no choice. “To go on in these conditions however would be counterproductive to the rider’s health. Right now our priority is to understand the nature of the problem and try to resolve it as best we can.”