Thomas De Gendt accidentally found himself the winner of a jersey after stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia, despite not knowing anything about it.
The Lotto-Soudal rider was rewarded during the sign-on of stage 11 after he won a “prize sprint” in the closing kilometres the previous day.
Race organisers announced De Gendt’s victory in an official communication, with the rider sharing his surprise on Twitter.
The Belgian said he was on the front of the peloton at the 26km mark, where the prize sprint fell, but added he didn’t actually see the line.
La Flamme Rouge Twitter account flagged De Gendt’s prize, saying: “Apparently Thomas De Gendt won something today, but we don’t know how, why and where.”
The official message from the race organisers said: “The winner of today’s prize sprint is rider no. 124 Thomas De Gendt, who will be rewarded tomorrow at signature check.
De Gendt then said on Twitter: “I am just as surprised as you are.
“I was on the front row at that point, but I never saw a line.”
The prize is part of the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympic bid, to bring the games to Italy in seven years’ time.
During the 2019 Giro d’Italia, a jersey featuring the Milan Cortina 2026 logo will be handed out for a sprint at the 26km mark.
The cities of Milan and Cortina are putting together a joint bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, with the host city being selected at the 134th International Olympic Committee Session in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 24.
As part of the campaign, 60 athletes are taking part in their own Giro d’Italia by riding the race route on e-bikes.
The parallel race includes cross-country skier Cristian Zorzi, windsurfer Alessandra Sensini, speed skater Francesca Lollobrigida and rower Alessio Sartori.