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Phinney abandons Giro d’Italia after suffering through illness, knee pain

Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) abandoned the Giro d’Italia during Tuesday’s 16th stage. The American, who wore the maglia rosa in 2012, withdrew from the race after suffering through illness, knee pain, and saddle sores during the three-week race.

Phinney wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that he’d been afflicted with an infection for almost a week:

I’ve been battling an infection for around 5 days now. Today I had to be smart and look after myself. Broke my heart to abandon this #Giro.

The BMC Racing strongman rode through pain in his right knee, allergies, and illness earlier in the race to support second overall Cadel Evans. He had hoped to finish the race on Sunday, but Phinney called it quits after the race’s second rest day.

The USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships take place Saturday through Monday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Having abandoned the Giro, which doesn’t finish until Sunday in Brescia, Phinney, the 2010 U.S. time trial champion, would need an exemption from the sport’s world governing body, the UCI, to take part in the TT national championship. Despite his illness, Phinney would enter the race a favorite, with the absence of defending champion David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), who fractured his clavicle in a crash at the Amgen Tour of California on Friday.