Having struggled to put up a fight at the World Tour race, Louis Meintjes’ campaign came to a close at the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, with the South African rider pulling out of the gruelling contest due to illness.
“It’s obviously really disappointing to have to stop the Giro d’Italia in the final week but my body just doesn’t want to cooperate,” Meintjes said in a statement.
“I felt my condition was gradually improving during the race and I was looking forward to playing a role at the three upcoming mountain stages but it is just not possible.”
Meintjes, who had finished eighth at the last two editions of the Tour de France and was 12th overall at last year’s Vuelta a’Espana, was unable to make an impact in his maiden appearance at the Giro.
Turning out in his first Grand Tour race in the colours of Dimension Data, after signing with the SA-registered outfit this season, he finished among the top 20 on only two of the 16 stages he contested.
Meintjies was lying 46th overall ahead of Wednesday’s 17th stage, more than 78 minutes behind British leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
Australian rider Ben O-Connor was the best-placed Dimension Data team member with five stages remaining at the Giro. He was lying 12th overall, less than eight minutes off the pace