Pordenone - Former pink jersey hopeful Steven Kruijswijk, of the Lotto NL team, pulled out of the Giro d'Italia prior to Saturday's penultimate stage to Asiago due to stomach problems.
"I didn't feel good last night," said the 29-year-old Dutchman, who had dropped to 10th overall at over seven minutes behind race leader Nairo Quintana of Colombia.
"It's not the way I wanted to end the race, but I can't go on."
It is the second year in succession the race had ended in disappointment for Kruijswijk, who looked poised for overall victory last year before losing the pink jersey two days before the finish.
On Saturday's 20th stage, the final day in the mountains, his compatriot Tom Dumoulin, of the Sunweb team, will carry the torch for Dutch cycling fans hoping to see one of their own secure what would be an historic victory.
He only lost the pink jersey on Friday, dropping to second overall at 38secs behind Movistar climbing specialist Quintana, the 2014 champion, after the fourth of five days in the mountains.
Italy's two-time champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain) is third at 43secs with Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) third at 53.
The 100th edition of the race ends Sunday with a 29.3km time trial from Monza to Milan.