Viviani stripped of Giro stage three win as Geoghegan Hart loses time

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani took what remains his only Giro d’Italia stage win back in 2015

Italian national champion Elia Viviani was stripped of his stage three win at the Giro d’Italia for swerving in front of another rider in the final metres.

Race organisers demoted the 30-year-old after reviewing footage, with Colombian Fernando Gaviria declared the stage victor and France’s Arnaud Demare moving up to second from third.

Team Ineos’ Tao Geoghegan Hart lost 88 seconds after being stuck behind a crash in the last five kilometres.

Primoz Roglic kept the overall lead.

Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Viviani, wearing the green, white and red national champion’s jersey of Italy, crossed the line first in a chaotic bunch sprint finish but was relegated to 73rd, the back of the first group of finishers, for leaving his sprinting line and swerving in front of Trek-Segafredo’s Matteo Moschetti.

Gaviria, though, refused to celebrate his win on the podium, leaving his arms behind his back. “Elia is always fair, it is hard to celebrate,” he said.

“When he moved to the left, he did it without bad intention. To me he is the clear winner of today’s stage. I feel bad for him.”

Meanwhile Deceuninck-Quick Step’s team manager Patrick Lefevere tweeted: “What a ridiculous decision UCI jury”.

Stage two winner Pascal Ackermann led out the bunch sprint, but kicked too early and had to settle for an upgraded third.

Roglic retained the leader’s jersey, the maglia rosa, with Britain’s Simon Yates remaining 19 seconds behind in second, but it was a bad day for two British riders.

Geoghegan Hart started the day in seventh, only 35 seconds behind Roglic, but the 24-year-old was held up by a crash in the final five kilometres to slip to 57th overall.

Britain’s Deceuninck-QuickStep rider James Knox went down in the crash and lost even more time, falling from 20th overall to 90th.

Japanese Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane rider Sho Hatsuyama made a solo attack in the first kilometre of the 220km stage and rode on his own for 144km before being reeled in by the peloton.

Stage three results

1. Fernando Gaviria (Col/UAE Team Emirates) 5hrs 23 mins 19secs

2. Arnaud Demare (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) Same time

3. Pascal Ackermann (Ger/BORA-hansgrohe)

4. Matteo Moschetti (Ita/Trek-Segafredo)

5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita/Dimension Data)


11. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)

59. Hugh Carthy (GB/EF Education First)

84. Scott Davies (GB/Dimension Data)

112. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB/Team Ineos)

123. James Knox (GB/Deceuninck-QuickStep)

General classification after stage three

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Team Jumbo-Visma) hrs 21mins 01sec

2. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +19secs

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain – Merida) +23secs

4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team) +28secs

5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) Same time

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Giro d’Italia: Pascal Ackermann wins second stage, Briton Simon Yates second overall

German Pascal Ackermann wins a high-speed bunch sprint

German national champion Pascal Ackermann is making his Giro debut this year

German Pascal Ackermann won a high-speed bunch sprint on his Giro d’Italia debut to claim the second stage in Fucecchio.

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Ackermann edged out Italy’s Elia Viviani to win in four hours 44 minutes and 43 seconds.

The bunch finish meant no change to the overall lead, with Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic still in the pink jersey after the 205km stage from Bologna.

Team Jumbo-Visma’s Roglic has a 19-second lead over Britain’s Simon Yates.

Two-time Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali, of Bahrain-Merida, is a further four seconds behind the Mitchelton-Scott rider, from Lancashire, in third place overall.

German national champion Ackermann, making his Giro debut this year, just avoided a rider crashing in front of him during the finale before holding off Viviani, the Italian national champion.

Australian Caleb Ewan of Lotto-Soudal came in third behind the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider, with UAE Team Emirates’ Fernando Gaviria fourth.

“I’m so happy, this is my first chance to win a stage and we did it,” said Ackermann.

“We were super motivated. It bodes well for the rest of the Giro.

“We saw with 250 metres to go that none of the sprinters had started the sprint.

“I decided to take my speed and go full gas and luckily it was enough.”

The three-week race continues on Monday with a 220km stage from Vinci to Orbetello.

Stage two result:

1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) 4hrs 44mins 43secs

2. Elia Viviani (Ita/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) Same time

3. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal) Same time

4. Fernando Gaviria (Col/UAE Team Emirates) Same time

5. Arnaud Demare (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) Same time

6. Davide Cimolai (Ita/Israel Cycling Academy) Same time

7. Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus/Team Katusha-Alpecin) Same time

8. Jasper De Buyst (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) Same time

9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita/ Israel Cycling Academy) Same time

10. Rudiger Selig (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) Same time

General classification after stage two:

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Team Jumbo-Visma) 12mins 54secs

2. Simon Yates (Gbr/Mitchelton-Scott) +19secs

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +23secs

4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +28secs

5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) Same time

6. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +33secs

7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Gbr/Team Ineos) +35secs

8. Laurens De Plus (Bel/Team Jumbo-Visma) Same time

9. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo) +39secs

10. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +40secs

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Yates makes strong Giro start behind time trial winner Roglic

Simon Yates

Yates looked set to win last year’s Giro but compatriot Chris Froome took the title after a stunning attack on stage 19

Britain’s Simon Yates made an impressive start to the 2019 Giro d’Italia by finishing second in the opening time trial in Bologna.

Mitchelton-Scott’s Yates completed the 8km course in 13 minutes 13 seconds, just 19 seconds behind Primoz Roglic.

Yates won his first Grand Tour at last year’s Vuelta a Espana and is one of the main contenders for the Giro.

His rivals Vincenzo Nibali, Miguel Angel Lopez and Tom Dumoulin finished close behind within the top five.

Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart came seventh riding for Team Ineos in their first Grand Tour since their sponsorship changed from Sky.

Roglic, who finished fourth at last year’s Tour de France, is another contender for the overall title and takes the first leader’s pink jersey of the race.

Yates won three stages at last year’s Giro and spent two weeks in the leader’s jersey before Chris Froome went on a solo attack on stage 19 to secure a dramatic victory.

“I did all I could,” Yates said after Saturday’s stage. “I’m happy the race has started now, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and we’re finally here.

“Maybe I went a little bit too easy at the start but that was also the tactic, you can’t go full gas start to finish.

“We’ve seen how [Roglic] has been going this year. He’s in great form so we were expecting him to be either first or second.”

Sunday’s 205km second stage to Fucecchio features two categorised climbs ahead of a flat finish.

Stage one result

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Team Jumbo-Visma) 12mins 54secs

2. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +19secs

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +23secs

4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +28secs

5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) same time

6. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +33secs

7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB/Team Ineos) +35secs

8. Laurens de Plus (Bel/Team Jumbo-Visma) same time

9. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo +39secs

10. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +40secs

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GB’s Yates has ‘deep passion’ to win Giro after going ‘so close’ last year

Simon Yates

Simon Yates eventually finished more than one hour behind winner Chris Froome at last year’s Giro

Briton Simon Yates has a “deep passion” to try to win the Giro d’Italia after going “so close” last year.

Having led for 13 stages, Yates looked set to win his first Grand Tour – but compatriot Chris Froome took the title after a stunning attack on stage 19.

Mitchelton-Scott’s Yates went on to win the Vuelta a Espana in September, and is among the favourites for this year’s Giro, which starts on Saturday.

“Now I’ve done it at the Vuelta, I know I can do it again,” he said.

The 26-year-old won three stages at last year’s Giro but began to fade in the final week as Froome and 2017 winner Tom Dumoulin increased the pressure.

Speaking to the BBC Sport’s cycling podcast, BeSpoke, Yates added: “I felt I was so close last year. I was more disappointed for the team because we’d worked so hard over so many stages to get to that point.

“Now I look back with fond memories from that race. I don’t look back at it with any regrets.

“I have a deep passion to go back and try to win.”

The 102nd edition of the three-week race around Italy starts in Bologna and finishes in Verona on Sunday, 2 June.

Who are the contenders?


Dumoulin is a time-trial specialist who has developed into a climber

With Froome choosing not to defend his title, as he focuses on trying to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France, the race feels wide open.

Dutchman Dumoulin, who won the world time-trial title in 2017 and is now also a climbing specialist, is among the main contenders, particularly as there are three individual time-trial stages totalling about 60km.

But though that will suit the 28-year-old, he says the hilly nature of those stages means “in terms of gaining time, I probably won’t take that much”.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali is eyeing a third Giro title after victories in 2013 and 2016.

At 34, he is the veteran of the peloton but he has an excellent Grand Tour pedigree, with four wins among 10 podium finishes across Giro, Vuelta and Tour de France.

“I think everyone knows that I’m always at my best for the big goals, and that I’m always competitive and can finish on the final podium in a Grand Tour,” he told Cycling News.

Miguel Angel Lopez is one of the rising stars to look out for. The 25-year-old Colombian won the best young rider classification at last year’s Giro – finishing third overall, just as he did in the Vuelta.

And then there’s Yates. He said he had to ride aggressively at last year’s Giro because he was “afraid” he could lose up to four minutes in the time trials but has improved his time trialling to the extent he won a stage against the clock at Paris-Nice earlier this year.

What is the route?

The 21 stages predominantly take place in the northern half of Italy and feature three individual time trials and 40 categorised climbs. There are also six mountain-top finishes – and the race is bookended by two of them.

The first half of the race is largely for the sprinters, with home favourite Elia Viviani going up against the likes of Australia’s Caleb Ewan and Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria.

The longest time trial of the race, in San Marino on stage nine, is likely to shake up the general classification prior to the race heading into the Alps before a final week in the Dolomites.

Where are Team Sky?

The team formerly known as Team Sky are entering their first Grand Tour since Team Ineos officially took over as team sponsor on 1 May.

Chris Lawless marked their arrival by winning last weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire. but their hopes of winning the Giro were hampered when Egan Bernal was forced to pull out after a crash in training.

Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart finished second behind team-mate Pavel Sivakov at the recent Tour of the Alps – and they go in as joint team leaders.

They will be supported by, among others, Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar, who played a big role in Lawless’ recent victory. That said, three weeks racing around Italy is a much sterner test than four days in Yorkshire.

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‘I loved the Giro but going for Tour number five is what dreams are made of’

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I’m going to keep going – Froome

Chris Froome says a chance to make cycling history is why he is targeting this summer’s Tour de France rather than defending his Giro d’Italia title.

Froome lost out to Geraint Thomas a year ago but is one win from equalling the record of five Tour titles.

“I want to try to get up there with Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain,” he said.

“The fact that only four people in history have done that means it would be massive if I could achieve it.”

The Giro, which starts in Bologna on Saturday, is the first of the year’s three Grand Tour races, with the Tour following in July and Spain’s Vuelta a Espana starting in August.

In 2018 Froome became the first Briton to win the Giro and the third man to hold all three titles – having won the Tour and Vuelta in 2017 – following Hinault in 1982-83 and Merckx, who won four consecutive Grand Tours in 1972-73.

His success in Italy’s three-week race last year was followed by Thomas at the Tour and Simon Yates at the Vuelta, meaning British riders have won the past five Grand Tours.

“I loved riding the Giro – it was such a different challenge,” Froome told BBC 5 Live’s BeSpoke podcast.

“It’s the hardest Grand Tour for me personally to win, given my riding style and my characteristics.”

The winner of the Tour de France in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, added: “The Vuelta is probably the most enjoyable Grand Tour of the three for me. That time of year in Spain is super-hot, and I love those conditions – so gruelling, so savage. From a pure, suffering point of view, the Vuelta really pushes you to your limits.

“But for now, the Tour is the big aim – I’m putting all my eggs in that basket, not spreading myself thin all across the calendar.”

Froome will be 34 by the time the 2019 Tour begins on 6 July in Brussels, the location of the opening stage itself a tribute to Merckx’s first yellow jersey triumph 50 years ago.

Only one man, Belgium’s Firmin Lambot, has ever won the Tour’s general classification after their 35th birthday, and that was back in 1922.

“It’s a huge motivation for me,” said Froome. “I just feel I’m in such a privileged position now. To have that opportunity to go in and try to win number five – this is what dreams are made of.

“I definitely don’t feel as if I’m close to retiring. I’d like to keep trying for the next few years to win as many Tours as I can.

“It’s not getting any easier – the level is getting harder and harder every year. But I’m in an amazing position where I can go for number five, and I know I have the backing of the best team in the world to try to do that.”

A year ago, Froome won the Giro in spectacular fashion with a long-range solo break on the final Friday.

That extraordinary ride up the Colle della Finestre destroyed the hopes of Simon Yates, who had worn the race leader’s maglia rosa for 13 days and won three stages en route to what looked like being his debut Grand Tour triumph.

“You can go through months and months of training and preparation to be ready for a race, but nothing compares to that split-second in a race where you have that ability to push on, and you can literally see the pain on other people’s faces as they can’t follow that pace,” said Froome.

“The satisfaction that gives you is amazing. It’s just the most incredible feeling. It makes all the months of training and sacrifices worth it.

“But I feel a lot fresher this year. A year ago I was going into the Giro as my fourth Grand Tour in a row, and I’d won the last three.

“I felt as if I was burning the candle at both ends. I’m not doing the Giro this year, I didn’t do the Vuelta at the end of last year.

“So I had a really good winter, really stayed on it, and I came into the season a lot more rested, a lot more focused than I did last year.”

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