"Battled through a day and a half and called it enough today so I/we can recover before heading to the USA next week then [Tour of the] Gila and Tour of California," Sutherland told Cyclingnews. "Marc [de Maar] seems to be doing a good job without us so that's good."
De Maar is currently 18th overall after stage 3, which included the brutally steep Punta Veleno just before the finish line. With the Passo Pordoi (Category 1) featuring as the race's conclusion in tomorrow's stage, it made sense for the riders to save their energies for the two to recover and prepare for the team's major goal of the season, the Amgen Tour of California.
Sutherland, 30, came back to Europe for the second year in a row this spring, and took in the Volta ao Algarve, Settimana Coppi e Bartali, and now the Giro del Trentino along with several one-day races. He scored one of his best European results since his days on the Rabobank team, taking second on stage 2 of the Coppi e Bartali race, and putting in a respectable individual time trial.
But the roads of Europe are never smooth, as Sutherland says. "It's been ups and downs, sick riders, accidents, sometimes not the best races in preparation for Tour of California, but we've held it together well as a team. I've had my family in Girona for the last 3 months which obviously has helped a whole lot.
"It wouldn't be Europe without drama, hard racing, etcetera, anyway! We've had some good results through good team work a long the way so every little result helps spur you on for another few weeks."
The UnitedHealthcare team will change up, with the climbers coming home to take part in the UCI 2.2-ranked SRAM Tour of the Gila, while the fast men head east for the Presidential Tour of Turkey, April 22-29.
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