Elia Viviani's frustrating 2019 Giro d'Italia came to an end after he and stage 11 winner Caleb Ewan withdrew on Wednesday.
Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Viviani won four stages en route to a points classification victory in the first Grand Tour of the 2018 season, but he could not repeat his feat 12 months later.
The Italian finished in second place on three occasions this year, before he was kept off the podium in a late sprint on Wednesday.
Viviani dropped out ahead of a stretch in which sprinters will find conditions less favourable, yet he hinted that results might have impacted his decision.
"I'm sorry because it would have been nice to win with the tricolore jersey here," he said. "I'm not angry but I'm disappointed, as is normal when you don't achieve your goals.
"My Giro ends today. If I had won, maybe the decision would have been different."
Ewan won in Novi Ligure, his second triumph of the race, but he also withdrew.
"I am happy that I came to the Giro," he said. "The succession of the long and sometimes challenging stages will have done me good, condition wise.
"Of course, I am going home with a great feeling. I came into the Giro and I really wanted to win one stage. To get two is more than I expected, so I am really satisfied with that and I am happy with how the team rode as well."
He added: "I think it makes sense that the sprinters leave the Giro prematurely. From now on, there are virtually only tough stages left, so not very suited to us.
"I think that the organisation prefers to have to best sprinters at the start. Although they do not finish the Giro, it still guarantees some nice battles in the flat stages."