Giro d’Italia 2019: Stage 3 – Gaviria victorious as Viviani is relegated

Stage 3 of the 2019 Giro d’Italia culminated in a chaotic sprint into a ferocious headwind. The results show Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) as the victor but only after the first man across the line – Elia Viviani (QuickStep) – was relegated for irregular sprinting. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) finished second and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), who lit the blue touchpaper too early, claimed the third step. In a stressful finale Ineos’ Tao Geoghegan Hart was caught behind a crash and lost a minute and half, dropping out of the top ten. The pink jersey stays firmly on the shoulders of Primoz Roglic,

Ahhh Giro sprints, don’t you just love them? As if crossing a lagoon at the mercy of the wind wasn’t enough to ramp up the tension, the organisers throw in a chicane in the last 500m with a left-right switch so severe that the riders almost had to start their sprint from a dead stop. Thank goodness the raindrops we saw on the camera lens came after the stage finish, I dread to think of charging pack on wet roads and slick white lines.

Rider of the Race

I don’t know if Journal Velo has a square on his Giro Bingo card for solo break of the day by an Italian team, but if so he can cross it off with Nippo Vini Fantini Faizane today. With the peloton facing 220km in the saddle as they rode out of Vinci, only one rider was tempted into the break of the day and for that act alone Sho Hatsuyama is my Rider of the Stage.

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I wonder what he thought when he took a quick look back and saw that long line of riders stretched wide across the road signalling that no one else was coming to join him. With 130km to go, he held over seven minutes advantage on the peloton, 80km later it was all over. It’s no wonder a smidgen of relief was visible in his body language as the chasers brought him back. The effort of staying away solo is no joking matter. Chapeau!

To relegate or not to relegate – that is the question

The Italian national champion and Deceuninck-QuickStep played it so well today. The leadout worked. Viviani chose the right wheel to follow and timed his sprint to perfection. It was a masterclass in mastering the chaos and delivering victory except for one thing – when Vivz swung left out of Ackermann‘s wheel, he impeded Trek-Segafredo’s fast-finishing Matteo Moschetti. It’s clear in the clip below that Moschetti has to stop pedalling thus losing all momentum. Was this move deliberate and dangerous? The UCI commissaires adjudged it so.

The trouble is, we have all seen examples of sprint finishes with much worse examples of deviating from your line which go unpunished, and some decisions that are too harsh (*cough* Nacer Bouhanni *cough*). As much as it was a brave call to relegate the Italian National Champion at his home Grand Tour, and whether you agree with their decision or not, it’s consistency that I want to see.

Fast twitch respect

Nothing I like more than to see respect between rivals. We saw it when Gaviria hand tapped Viviani immediately after they crossed the line and before the result was changed.

We witnessed it again at the press conference when the Colombian said:

I’m sorry this has happened because Elia is always correct in the sprints and didn’t really do anything wrong today. For me, he won the stage today. If you watch the replay, you can see he didn’t do it on purpose, he didn’t look back. He was trying to just do his sprint. It was a severe decision. I like to win fair and square out on the road and today I was beaten by Elia. He’s a great rider and I’m sorry for him.

And finally….

I would not have guessed the name

Stage results – top 5

1 Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Emirates)  5:23:19

2 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) same time

3 Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) s/t

4 Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) s/t

5 Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data) s/t

General Classification – top 10

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1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 10:21:01

2 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:19

3 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:23

4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:28

5 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) same time

6 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) +0:33

7 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +0:39

8 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida) +0:40

9 Pello Bilbao (Astana) +0:42

10 Victor de la Parte (CCC) +0.45

All the Jerseys 

Maglia rosa – Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Maglia blanca – Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

Maglia azzurra – Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)

Maglia ciclamino – Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates)

For full stage review and race results, go to cyclingnews



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