Team Sky's Chris Froome was expelled from the Giro d'Italia on Friday night for taking a tow from a motorbike, a communiqué issued by race officials said. Froome was also fined 200 Swiss Francs.
Froome had been suffering with a knee problem and was spotted hanging onto a police motorbike by a race commissaire.
Midway through the 19th stage, Froome had realized he wouldn't be able to make it to the finish. "I just felt shattered and the knee really wouldn't go any further," said Froome according to his Team Sky's website, www.teamsky.com. "As a result I ended up quite far behind the team and I was even behind the gruppetto, so I then tried to ride up to the feed zone to call it a day.
"In order to get up there, I held onto a police motorbike, and I think the commissaire thought I was still racing so he wanted me to get off the bike and officially pull out of the race as opposed to just riding up there to the feed zone."
A total of ten riders were disciplined during the stage.
Alexandre Vinokourov and his Astana directeur sportif Alexandre Shefer were punished for illegal feeding from a team car in the final eight kilometres of the stage to Aprica. Race rules do not allow feeding from team cars in the final 20km of each stage.
Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Marco Frapporti (Colnago-CSF Inox), Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions), Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Frantisek Rabon (HTC-Columbia), Robert Forster (Milram) and Luke Roberts (Milram) were all docked 10 seconds and fined 50 Swiss Francs for pushing against a car. Peter Weening (Rabobank) was docked 20 seconds and fined 50 Swiss francs for sheltering behind a team vehicle. Rabobank directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven was also punished.
A total of 144 riders are expected to line-up for Saturday's stage from Bormio to Ponte di Legno-Tonale. Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions), Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) did not start the stage from Brescia to Aprica, while Arnold Jeannesson (Caisse d'Epargne), Marcel Sieberg (HTC-Columbia) and Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) retired during the stage.