Christian Scaroni, previous main rival to Tadej Pogacar on the Giro's KOM classification, forced to abandon race

Christian Scaroni has been one of the most active and aggressive riders in this Giro d'Italia but after a few days of racing in very bad weather, he fell ill and has been forced to abandon the race this morning whilst sitting among the first in the KOM classification.

"Unfortunately, after several good stages Christian Scaroni will not be able to start 18h stage and continue Giro due to getting ill with fever," Astana Qazaqstan Team shared on social media. The Italian rider featured on the breakaway on stages 2, 12 and 15.

On stage 12, to Fano, he rode to a strong fifth place on the day where Julian Alaphilippe was crowned winner. A puncheur and classics rider by nature, he wouldn't ordinarily feature on the front in the mountain stages but that has not been the case. On stage 16, the day that was cut due to the bad weather, Scaroni managed to attack on the penultimate climb of the day and finished fourth on the stage.

This saw him move up to second in the KOM classification only behind Tadej Pogacar. Because of this, yesterday on stage 17 he was wearing the blue jersey. This was extra motivation for the 26-year old rider who once again went on the attack several times during the day. However, due to the very bad weather and many high-mountain difficulties, he couldn't contest for the stage win this time around and lost some positions in the classification.

Nevertheless, with a few days left to go in the race and good form, he was expected to be within a shot of regaining some positions and possibly fighting for a stage win on stage 19. However that will not happen as he does not take to the start this morning in Fiera di Primiero. Scaroni is the fourth Astana rider to abandon the race and the Kazakh team is now left with only four including Davide Ballerini and national champion Simone Velasco who still have opportunities to chase wins in breakaways, alongside Lorenzo Fortunato who is still in the battle for the Top10.

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