The Tunisian man who dropped a bicycle in front of the escape racing to the finish in the Giro d'Italia's 18th stage faces expulsion from Italy.
Local Italian newspaper Oggi Treviso (opens in new tab) reported on Monday (June 3), that he will be sent back to Tunisia.
Video showed the man, who has been identified as a 44-year-old Tunisian, drop his bike on the road as the three-man breakaway neared.
A spectator quickly pulled the bike from the road seconds before eventual stage winner Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè) and two other riders passed.
The incident happened in Conegliano, around 60 kilometres from the finish. With help from television cameras and spectators, he was identified. The Tunisian was reported to live in nearby Vittorio Veneto. The bike incident triggered his expulsion from Italy, local sources said
Italy's populist government has taken a hard stance on immigration.
It is not known how long the Tunisian had been living in Italy.
Video from the stage shows him walking out into the road as the breakaway riders on stage 18 of the Giro hurtle towards him, then throwing a bike into the middle of road.
The front wheel of the bike comes off as it hits the tarmac, with a quick-thinking spectator on the other side of the road dashing across to clear it out of the way of the oncoming riders and team cars.
Luckily, the three riders in the breakaway Damiano Cima, Nico Denz (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF) spot the road debris early and steer well clear. With the trio spending nearly the whole day out front, and Cima going on to survive by the skin of his teeth and take the stage win, it would have been cruel for their efforts to have been ruined in this manner.
EF Education First rider Sacha Modolo posted a video showing another angle of the incident on Twitter, capturing the moment the man calmly walks out before hurling the bike to the floor after the race commissaire’s car has passed.
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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