Celebration was followed by disappointment and no doubt a little bit of embarrassment at the Giro Rosa, as a second rider in two days raised her hands in the air only to be pipped before reaching the line.
Letizia Borghesi (Team Aromitalia–Basso Bikes–Vaiano) won stage four of the Italian stage race, by the margin of a bike throw.
Beside her, Alé–Cipollini’s Nadia Quagliotto punched the air at the finish line in Carate Brianza, just one day after Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) zoomed past the jubilant Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott), who slowed her pace with metres to go.
The Italian duo of Borghesi and Quagliotto had been involved in a 60 kilometre breakaway, along with Chiara Perini (BePink).
At most, they’d built up a lead of 4 minutes 30 seconds, which was reduced to a still sizeable 1-40 advantage by the final kilometre, as GC teams began to reel them in to prevent a change in the overall standings.
However, approaching the line, Quagliotto appeared to think she had the win in the bag, whilst beside her Borghesi edged her into second with a bike throw.
It’s far from the first incident of its kind. At the 2018 Vuelta a Asturias, Ecuadorian rider Jonathan Caicedo sat up to enjoy success, only to be pushed into second place by Dmitry Strakhov.
In 2016, then 19-year-old Adam Toupalik took it a step further, celebrating a full lap early in the U23 race at the Cyclocross World Champs.
He took the ringing bell for the last lap to mean the end, and though he was able to regain focus, he couldn’t out-sprint Belgian Eli Iserbyt.
The Giro Rosa continues tomorrow, with an 87.5 kilometre route from Ponte in Valtellina to Lago di Cancano, a revised finish after a landslide put pay to the initial parcours.