Giro d'Italia: Geox climber Fabio Duarte forced to abandon race
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Giro d'Italia: Geox climber Fabio Duarte forced to abandon race

by VeloNation Press at 3:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Injury
Menchov lieutenant will be missed during the final week of climbing

Fabio DuarteColombian Fabio Duarte (Geox-TMC) was forced to abandon the Giro d'Italia today just 50 kilometers into the 216 kilometer eighth stage from Sarpi to Tropea.  The 24 year old crashed in the third stage of the race and damaged his knee.  He came back to take second place on stage five to Orvieto behind current Maglia Rosa Pieter Weening, but from there the injury continued to worsen.

“In the third stage that finished in Rapallo I slid out on a downhill and took a hit to my right knee that didn’t seem to have major consequences [at the time]," explained Duarte after today's stage.  "It was after the stage in Orvieto, where I took second place, that the pain to my kneecap started getting worse."

As this year's Giro d'Italia saw its first climb the the young rider knew he needed to hold back to give himself a chance to heal.

"Yesterday on the climb at Montevergine I tried taking it easy. I wanted to hang in there until Monday to try and make the most out of the rest day, but unfortunately today after only a few kilometres I realized I was not in a position to continue," he continued.

It's never easy for a rider to leave a Grand Tour, but Duarte knew there was nothing he could do to keep himself in the race.

"After consulting with the team’s technical staff I decided to pull out," he said.  "I’m really disappointed that I have to leave the race like this.  I worked hard to prepare for the Giro; this was my first Giro and it meant a lot for me to be able to do my best, to be able to help Menchov and Sastre, especially on the climbs.”

Duarte showed he was on good form coming into this year's Giro d'Italia.  He impressed everyone with his stage three win in the Giro del Trentino, beating Tiago Machado (RadioShack) to the line with Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) leading the chasing quartet home for third.  His team was expecting a solid performance from him for team captains Carlos Sastre in Denis Menchov in what would be his first three-week race.

“In this first week at the Giro Duarte looked like he was in great shape," explained Geox Directeur Sportif Daniele Nardello. "Particularly on the major climbs in this Giro he could have had an important role in the success of the team."

That being said, the team is looking out for a rider they feel has a big future ahead.  "To go on in these conditions however would be counterproductive to the rider’s health. Right now our priority is to understand the nature of the problem and try to resolve it as best we can,” Nardello concluded.

Duarte will undergo medical exams over the next several days to evaluate the extent of his injury.


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