Over-zealous fan ruins Francesco Bongiorno's chances of a stage win on Monte Zoncolan

Francesco Bongiorno lost his chance to win one of cycling’s toughest climbs in the Giro d’Italia today when a fan pushed him. Just 2.8 kilometres from the top of Monte Zoncolan, his hopes crashed to the ground.

“I felt that person, it wasn’t just a push to help me, but a big push and I hit Michael [Rogers]. I had to stop on the hardest section, to stop and restart on a 20 per cent gradient. It’s terrible,” team Bardiani-CSF’s Bongiorno told Cycling Weekly. “He pushed me and stopped me, but the least he could’ve done was to help me get going again. That’s the problem!”

Fans ran undressed nearly from head to toe, in a wedding dress and with Colombian flags. One in a world champion’s jersey ran up behind the 24-year-old from Reggio Calabria and pushed hard.

“I heard it on the radio when it happened, I didn’t see it, but I just saw the video replay,” Bardiani manager Roberto Reverberi said. “There’s about 100,000 fans out there, but there’s always one idiot in a crowd that size. Unfortunately, it happens.”

The incident recalled the time when a fan ran out and knocked Giuseppe Guerini off his bike on the Alpe d’Huez climb in the Tour de France. Fortunately, he was able to remount and continue to win.

“It’s like in a football stadium,” added Reverberi, “someone’s going to ruin it for everyone else.”

Rogers kept riding, won and celebrated his second stage win of the 2014 Giro d’Italia. Bongiorno crossed the line 49 seconds later in third place. After the incident, he could never catch Rogers again for the win. Rogers said he did not know what had happened to his rival.

“We’ll never know if that was the reason I couldn’t win,” said Bongiorno, “but for sure, I couldn’t challenge for it like I wanted to.”

After the incident, the fan threw his hands down in disgust. He returned, however, and ran behind the classification group with riders competing for the race’s pink jersey.

“I wouldn’t say there are too many fans out there. The fans give us energy, but they need to reflect on this incident, give us more space and respect,” Bongiorno said. “It’s right that they have a party, it’s an honour for us to be here with such a turn out, but they need to understand that we are not joking in that moment.”

Bongiorno added that he hopes the fan will learn from his mistake and not push riders again. “I’m sure that he didn’t do it on purpose, but he took away my chance to win on Monte Zoncolan.”

  • Patrick Murphy

    Good point about the volunteers for marshalls, however they do need to be instructed properly. How often do you see marshalls taking bl00dy photos or cheering themselves, easy to caught in the moment I assume. I did actually see one person pull someone out of the way, just need more to do the same.

  • HeadPack

    Did Italian media, or someone else, identify that idiot already? His mental condition should not be left unattended.

  • george jones

    As the guy was wearing a world champs jersey this sums it up !! should be put in the stocks and flogged !!!!

  • Katie Ford

    I agree they’re ruining races, most of us who cannot afford to head to France, Italy or Spain for the grand tours have our experience tampered by these idiots, when we’re watching on TV. I’d like to see the rest of the crowd taking more responsibility too though. Pulling the idiots back in to the crowd, or even just having more marshals there. I know hundreds of people who would jump at the opportunity to volunteer to marshal these events and it would save being able to get close to the riders from being spoilt for the respectful and sensible spectators.

  • Brian Gallagher

    Unfortunately it also took the joy out of viewing this from home. I’m thrilled for Mick Rogers, but couldn’t rejoice in the victory because I was sickened for Bongiorno, and still fearful for the remaining riders.

  • John Smith

    I have been to a lot of races of late & these eejits are becoming a real problem. One can see these big stage races run on closed roads because of the stupidity of a few. That will be a tragic loss, if it happens