ORBETELLO, Italy — Elia Viviani was stripped of winning the third stage at the Giro d’Italia on Monday.
Viviani was ruled by the race jury to have deviated from his line in the final sprint in Orbetello, even touching wheels with Italian compatriot Matteo Moschetti.
Viviani finished second on Sunday and thought he’d made up for it on Monday at the end of the 220-kilometre (137-mile) route from Vinci.
Instead, Fernando Gaviria of Colombia was given the win, with Arnaud Demare second and Pascal Ackermann third.
"It’s difficult to smile or to be happy when something like this happens to a friend," Gaviria said. "I’m disappointed for him because for me nothing happened. For me he’s the winner.
"The decision is extreme. He never looked back to see who was behind him so he didn’t do it with any intent. He only wanted to win, not to damage someone. He’s always been correct, a great racer. I’m disappointed for him."
Viviani left the finish zone after the decision without speaking to journalists and with an angry expression, in contrast to his joy when he was interviewed immediately after crossing the line.
He used that interview to apologize to Moschetti and revealed how much Sunday’s disappointment played on his mind.
"Yesterday I made a mistake. I thought about it all night," Viviani said.
Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic remained the overall leader.
Roglic, who won the opening time trial on Saturday, is 19 seconds ahead of British cyclist Simon Yates, and 23 seconds ahead of home favourite Vincenzo Nibali.
The peloton had a relatively easy day, which was characterized by strong crosswinds at the finish and a long solo ride from lone escape Sho Hatsuyama. The Japanese cyclist raced about 144 kilometres on his own before being caught 75 kilometres from the finish.
"It was an easy day actually because only one guy in the front, all day nothing," Roglic said. "But it was quite windy and then the stress at the end. The team did the perfect job and we finished without any problems."
The fourth stage on Tuesday is an undulating 234-kilometre route from Orbetello to Frascati, with an uphill finish which could see a change in the pink jersey.
The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.