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PARIS (Reuters) - Australia's Richie Porte has pulled out of the Giro d'Italia due to injury as one of the pre-race favourites suffered a catastrophic first two weeks of the 21-stage event, his Team Sky said on Monday.
"Richie Porte has been forced to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia on medical grounds following injuries sustained in a stage 13 crash," Sky said in a statement on the final rest day of this year's race.
"After enduring an uncomfortable weekend of racing as he looked to continue the Grand Tour, the team's medical staff have taken the decision to withdraw Porte at the second rest day."
Porte lost considerable ground on flat stages due to a time penalty and delaying crashes in the peloton before cracking in Saturday's individual time trial.
He was then dropped in the penultimate climb of Sunday's mountain stage and was lying 27th overall, 35 minuets and 57 seconds behind leader Alberto Contador of Spain.
Team Sky's ambitions now rest on the shoulders of Czech climber Leopol Konig, who is fifth overall 6:36 off the pace.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by John O'Brien