Instead, the pair went head-to-head, with Mareczko taking the win and the top step on the podium. Viviani didn’t go to the presentation, he was so angry, but later apologised for his actions.
Taking to Twitter on Monday, Viviani explained that his decision was wrong, but he was not sure that he would be able to control himself on the podium.
“With a cool head, I apologise to all the fans, to the Tour de San Luis, and to the Italian Cycling Federation for my bad gesture,” he wrote.
“I wasn’t myself, I wasn’t expecting it and I was enraged and out of control. The decision I made was the wrong one, but I did it because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to control myself.
“That said, there will be people who think I don’t deserve the azzurra [Italian blue] jersey, but others who know how much I do for the azzurra jersey.”
Viviani returns to Europe and Team Sky this week at Challenge Mallorca – a series of one-day races on the Spanish island between January 28-31.