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ORBETELLO, Italy (VN) — Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Emirates) doesn’t like charity. At least not this kind.
The Colombian sprinter was none too pleased to be bumped up to winner’s status when rival and good friend Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was relegated at the end of Monday’s long and blustery third stage at the Giro d’Italia.
Instead of raising his arms in exultation on the winner’s podium, Gaviria held his arms behind his back.
“The one who won is who won on the road,” Gaviria said. “In this finale with so many curves, it’s impossible not to have a bit of movement. I was second, but Elia was the clear winner today. And he deserved it.”
Viviani, who is desperate to win a stage in the Italian national champion’s jersey, appeared to have made up for misreading Sunday’s stage, when he came off the wrong wheel and lost to Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe). Against a headwind in Monday’s long 219km stage, Viviani timed it right, and barreled to victory.
Not so fast, said the race jury. After reviewing TV replays, the jury decided that Viviani barged the line of up-and-coming Trek-Segafredo talent Matteo Moschetti in the final rush to the line. Viviani faded left, perhaps trying to close down the lane, but the jury ruled it was too much.
The 22-year-old Moschetti later admitted he likely would not have won, but the grand tour rookie suggested that Viviani’s move might have cost him a placing or two in the sprint.
“I was on the wheel of Viviani at 150m to the finish and then I tried to come out, and Viviani also came out so I touched him and lost speed,” Moschetti said. “I stopped pedaling for some seconds, and I think I lost the good moment to take a good result.
“It was a little bit of a hectic final – I think I was in a really good position and I had good legs, so after the really bad day yesterday I am really happy with this result. However, I am a bit disappointed because maybe I could have had a better result — I think for me a top 3 would have been possible.”
An angry Viviani did not speak to the media in the wake of the relegation, and he stormed away to return to the team bus. Team boss Patrick Lefevere chimed in on Twitter, “What a ridiculous decision.”
After being told he was the winner, Gaviria, who is good friends with Viviani, reluctantly went to the winner’s podium. He stoically accepted the podium prizes, but left his arms behind his back and did not celebrate.
“The jury did what it did, and there is nothing we can do about it,” Gaviria said. “Elia is a big champion, and was today’s fair winner. I am sure he will win again soon because he deserves it. And I also want to win on the road, not like this.”
Thus ended an otherwise long and relatively boring stage. Following Saturday’s opening time trial and Sunday’s challenging transition stage, Monday’s 219km long profile was largely routine. Despite strong tail/crosswinds, the pack trundled along without any hurry, and only one rider dared to try his luck against the sprinters.
Overnight leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) safely steered clear of a late-stage crash that knocked Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) out of the top-15 when they gave up about 1:30 on a day when most of the GC favorites were on siesta mode.
“We didn’t bother about the sprint,” said Roglic, who defended his 19-second lead. “We just did our job and finished safely in the bunch. It was an easy stage. It was a long day with some wind but it finished well for us.
“I haven’t checked what it’ll be like tomorrow. I’ll take it day by day. For sure the last week of the Giro will be tough and decisive. So far so good for me. I hope to stay healthy.”
The 102nd Giro continues Tuesday with an even longer stage, but with an uphill finale that will put the pure sprinters under pressure. The final 2km averages just over 4 percent, with one ramp as steep as 7 percent. It still should see a bunch charge, but perhaps with a different profile of winner.
Viviani might have to wait another day to get his revenge.