Leopold König was to have been the BORA–hansgrohe team leader for this year’s Giro d’Italia, but unfortunately will not be able to take on the fight for the pink jersey in the 100th edition of the race. König is suffering from a knee irritation, his team have announced, that forces the Czech GC specialist to take a rest and start a new build up for the second part of the season.
König undertook tests involving hard and intense efforts and the decision was made by both rider and team that he wouldn’t ride this year’s race. According to the team: “Leo can train at low intensity, but whenever he pushed himself more to the limit, knee-pain occurs. This problem has also been an issue last season, therefore the medical department of the team, together with the sports directors and Leo, took the decision to take a period of rest now, without any bike riding, to fully recover his knee irritation.”
“I really tried everything in the last weeks,” König said. “I don’t feel it on easy rides, that’s why I kept training and hoping. But whenever we started with intervals I felt pain and we had to take it easy again. So, we ended up making new plans week after week, which makes at some point no sense any more.”
“I will take a rest now to fully recover and then start building up again for the second part of the season. For sure I am disappointed, not only for myself, but also for the team. They did everything to build a strong line-up around me. Now I hope they still can do a good race in Italy without me, maybe it’s even a good opportunity for the young guys to take their own chances and show their potential.”
“We have to take care about the health of our riders, that’s one of the main priorities,” said Directeur Sportif Enrico Poitschke. “At the point we are now, there was no other option than to give Leo the time he needs to fully recover, even if this means a big regression to our Giro campaign. I am confident that he will come back even stronger in the second half of the season.”