Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) has called an end to his time at the 2022 Giro d'Italia, without a victory, leaving before stage 12 with its trio of category three climbs and therefore missing Friday's likely sprint finish in Cuneo.
Ewan has never finished a Giro d'Italia and on Monday's rest day flagged his intention to leave between stage 11 and stage 13 – depending on how he felt – walking away from the race before the high mountains start to make their presence felt again this weekend.
"Caleb Ewan will not be at the start of stage twelve of the Giro," said the team in a media statement. "As initially planned, the Australian will leave the Giro during the second week of racing. With plenty of mountain stages coming up, together with the team it was decided that Ewan will be heading home."
"Following a short period of rest, the sprinter will build up towards his next big goal of the season, the Tour de France, where he will also be targeting victories in the sprint stages."
Last year Ewan left the Giro d'Italia before stage 8, but by then he had two victories in hand. This year however it has been what the Australian had earlier described as "the Giro from hell". It started with a crash within site of the line on stage 1, right when he looked to be in prime position, and then on stage 6 it was a photo finish with the Lotto Soudal rider missing out on the win by millimetres.
Not since Ewan's first Giro d'Italia in 2016 has the 27-year-old left the Italian Grand Tour without at least one stage win. In fact ending his time at a Grand Tour without a win has been a rarity throughout his career, with last year's Tour de France – which ended with a broken collarbone on stage 3 – being the only other example among his nine starts.
The rider was up there in the sprint on stage 11 – which turned out to be his final opportunity at this year's Giro – but finished short of the podium, in fifth place. However, he had struggled on the hilly stage 10 to Jesi on Tuesday, finishing in last place after being dropped alone and battling to make the time limit.
It was a stage Ewan, who is usually one of the better climbers among the sprinters, had been considered as a possible contender for. However, his inability to keep pace with the peloton at 80km to go on Tuesday wasn't a good sign for stage 12, a day in the medium mountains from Parma to Genova that includes a trio of category three climbs. That meant it was little surprise that he decided not to try and make it through so he could contest a final potential sprint on stage 13 to Cuneo.
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Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.