Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) pulled out off the 2021 Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, the first rest day of the Italian Grand Tour.
The 28-year-old Belgian made his first career Grand Tour start at the race, and he took the opportunity to collect his first Grand Tour stage win as well, sprinting to victory on stage 2 in Novara. He also spent several days in the maglia ciclamino of the points classification leader.
As of Tuesday, however, Merlier is out of the race, becoming the second notable speedster to leave the Giro d’Italia after Caleb Ewan abandoned on stage 8.
Alpecin-Fenix said that Merlier had been dealing with “stomach problems and fatigue,” and that the decision was made “in consultation with the team’s management and medical staff” that Merlier should call it a race.
“It is a shame I have to leave the Giro,” Merlier said. “But I believe it’s the most sensible choice right now. This was the first time in my career that I raced for ten consecutive days, and the past few days have taken their toll. With my current physical readiness, I don’t feel able to sprint for the win and I don’t want to compromise the rest of my season.”