Cadel Evans quit Tirreno-Adriatico ahead of today’s final stage after performing “not anywhere near my expectations” in the seven-day race.
The 37-year-old Australian had been hoping to challenge for a place on the podium but was lying 70th overall, more than 31 minutes down on leader Alberto Contador, when he decided to draw a difficult week to an early close.
Evans will now return home to resume his preparations for May’s Giro d’Italia.
The 2011 Tour de France winner said: "Obviously, my results are not anywhere near my expectations or intentions coming here.
"It is disappointing because we obviously worked a lot and I worked to continue the momentum that we started at the Tour Down Under. But obviously, the results tell a different story. So I will have to go home and reassess the situation and start again toward the next goals."
Evans’s dip in form brings to an end a promising start to the year, the highlight of which was a stage win and second place overall at the Santos Tour Down Under in January.
On Tirreno-Adriatico's two mountain stages, he finished more than eight minutes behind winner Contador on the climb to the summit finish at Cirrareale Selvarotonda on stage four, and then more than 16 minutes behind Contador, winner again, on the steep finish to stage five at Guardiagrele.
Evans added: "Unfortunately things aren't going well. That's the way it goes. We have ups and downs. That's life."
Evans’s next race will be the Vuelta al Pais Vasco from April 7-12.