Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) says that the Giro d'Italia race jury "destroyed his ambitions" of points for the ciclamino jersey.
The jury relegated the Italian champion from the win on Monday in Orbetello to 73rd place, deciding he veered too far off his line and into that of Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo). The victory instead went to Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), who originally placed second and now wears the ciclamino jersey.
"What happened? I did my sprint and I win the sprint," Viviani said.
"I was the first in the flash interview says that there was contact and I'm sorry for that but there were 75 metres to go when I started my sprint.
"When a sprinter decided to go, he just goes. I just found my line and probably the fastest line to the finish line. I'm disappointed because that destroyed my Giro ambition, absolutely."
The jury also fined him 500CHF and a precious 50 points towards the violet jersey. In 2018, he won four stages and the points jersey when the race ended in Rome.
Viviani argued such things are just part of sprinting, pointing out that in stage two he had an elbow from Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe).
"Absolutely. He defended the position because of Pascal Ackermann. It's just a sprint," Viviani added before stage four.
"They say it was a dangerous move, but I say it was not voluntary. They say it doesn't matter. It was also dangerous if you don't do the opposite, so it was dangerous. I don't deserve the [relegation] in that case.
"It's not about the result of yesterday. I have other ambitions for the points jersey, they also took 50 points in penalty. At least we have two days coming, probably I [could have won] both days but for my mistake on the first day, for one and Ackermann was super-strong. And yesterday with the decision. I am with zero wins now."
About three to four chances remain for sprinters like Viviani, Ackermann, Gaviria and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal). Viviani, the Italian champion, said that he will bounce back mentally from this.
"The goal of the ciclamino is gone, but I want to win before going home."
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