There was controversy on stage three of the Giro d'Italia on Monday when stage winner Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was disqualified after crossing the line first.
The Italian beat Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) to the line but was deemed afterwards to have ridden dangerously, veering leftwards and making contact with Trek-Segafredo's Matteo Moschetti.
Moschetti stayed upright but had to back off on his gallop, losing his chance. Viviani, who took four stages in last year’s race, was relegated to the back of the main bunch. Gaviria was named the stage winner but the Colombian said afterwards that he considered Viviani to be the moral victor.
“It is how it is. The winner is who is the first one on the road,” he stated. “With curves like these at the end, it’s impossible for sprinters not to touch each other. Elia [VIVIANI]won today and he deserves to be the winner. I sent him a message after I was declared the winner.”
Viviani won four stages in last year's race. He was statistically the most successful sprinter, but was beaten clearly by Sam Bennett in two out of the three stages Bennett won. The Irishman has notched up six victories this year but was controversially overlooked for the race by his Bora-Hansgrohe team, who preferred to give sprint leadership to Ackermann. He is less successful than Bennett but, as a German, is seen as having more publicity clout with and for its sponsors.
Irish rider Eddie Dunbar had started the day 35th overall but slipped to 82nd. He is riding in support of Team Ineos teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart and had to wait when the Briton was delayed by a large crash just inside five kilometres to go. He and other Team Ineos riders tried to help Geoghegan Hart regain the bunch, but they ultimately crossed the line one minute and 28 seconds back. Irish road race champion Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) was one minute and six seconds behind Gaviria.
Dunbar was a late call up to the race, thanks to a strong third overall in the Tour de Yorkshire. He is primarily riding for co-leaders Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov, as well as hoping to build important experience. At just 22 years of age, he has high ambitions but also a lot of development left to do.
He is now two minutes and 42 seconds behind the overall leader Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma). The time loss could help him have more freedom to go in breakaway moves; if so, a stage win would be a big target for him. Dunne is a regular attacker and is also likely to go up the road during the three week Tour.
Tuesday’s stage of the race is a tougher affair. The 235 kilometre stage from Orbetello to Frascati is very lumpy and could well see a selection being made.
Giro d’Italia, Italy (WorldTour)
Stage 3, Vinci to Orbetello: 1, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) at 5 hours 23 mins 19 secs; 2, A. Demare (Groupama-FDJ); 3, P. Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe); 4, M. Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo); 5, G. Nizzolo (Dimension Data); 6, J. Mareczko (CCC Team)
Irish: 110, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 1 min 6 secs; 114, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 1 min 28 secs
General classification after stage 3: 1, Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 10 hours 21 mins 1 secs; 2, S. Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at 19 secs; 3, V. Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 23 secs; 4, M. Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) at 28 secs; 5, T. Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) same time; 6, R. Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 33 secs
Irish: 82, Edward Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 2 mins 42 secs; 165, Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 16 mins 25 secs.