Koldo Fernández leaves Giro to rest and recover

The Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi has decided to take sprinter Koldo Fernández out of the Giro d'Italia, in light of the upcoming mountain stages and the tough final week. After last year's experience, where Fernández finished the corsa rosa so tired that he didn't recover for an entire month, the team wanted to be more cautious this time. Fernández took a strong third on stage 13, passing Erik Zabel (Milram) in the final metres.

The Spaniard summed up his race in Italy, stating: "Maybe I was too demanding to myself, but I came to the Giro with the objective of winning a stage. I knew it was going to be very difficult; here, there are the best in the world, but I had this dream. In the first stages I did the sprints with a lot of power, but I was lacking a lead-out. In the last sprints, I was led out a lot better, but I was lacking that power that I had in the beginning."

Fernández also finished sixth on stage three, ahead of double Giro stage winner Mark Cavendish (High Road). "I sprinted with Cavendish, and he finished ninth," said Fernández. "Now, he won and I got third. I am not sure if it was the nerves and the anxiety. In the end, you must take into account that we are very equal and to win, everything has to be perfect; you will pay for any error and be left empty-handed. I am leaving with the desire and the conviction that I can fight with the best in a one-on-one and that I must continue to learn and to progress."

His immediate program was not clear, but will include either the Euskal Bizikleta, the Dauphiné Libéré or the Tour de Suisse. "But wherever I go, I will go with confidence and ambitions," he said.

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