Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni has spoken out in defence of the work of the Italian police following the crash on stage nine which effectively ended the GC hopes of Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Adam Yates (Orica-Scott).
The two Brits were among a number of riders brought down in a crash near the start of the final climb of stage nine, colliding with a police motorcycle which had stopped at the side of the road.
While Yates lost 4-39 and Thomas 5-08 to new race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Team Sky co-leader Mikel Landa lost more than 25 minutes and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) was forced to abandon.
The incident sparked anger in the peloton, with Geraint Thomas understandably expressing disappointment, while Orica-Scott sports director Matt White directed his ire at Movistar for failing to ease off the pace after the crash.
Watch: Giro d’Italia stage nine highlights
But despite the anger of many involved in the race, Vegni was quick to come to the defence of the police, emphasising the important role they play in the race despite this unfortunate incident.
“I do not want this episode to ruin the work that the police have been doing for many years, thinking only about the safety of riders,” Vegni told Gazzetta dello Sport, before explaining why the police motorcyclist had stopped ahead of the main pack.
“In stages like this there are many bunches behind and the policeman was waiting to cover and protect them.
“Perhaps it was an error of judgement to stop where he did, on a narrow section of road. He could have perhaps pulled over 100m further on.”