Should Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) have been docked points in the maglia ciclamino competition after the Giro d’Italia race jury found him guilty of “intimidation” against other riders?
That was the question raised during a lively discussion between Dan Lloyd and Rob Hatch on Eurosport commentary in light of the Slovakian’s 1,000 CHF fine and 50 UCI points deduction for riding too aggressively on Stage 18.
TV footage showed Sagan moving across as riders attempted to join the breakaway during the early sections of Thursday’s run to Stradella.
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It was in the Slovakian’s interest to stop riders going down the road, given his lead in the points jersey standings. Stage 18 was the last realistic chance for the sprinters to make an impression in the race, with two days in the mountains and an individual time trial rounding up the race.
Under Bora’s blessing, the breakaway stayed away – with Sagan’s rivals all in the peloton – meaning none of the main contenders took points in the race for the maglia ciclamino. It will take a miracle for Sagan to lose the jersey now.
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“What Sagan did yesterday, there wasn’t too much wrong with it,” started Lloyd on Eurosport commentary on Friday.
“We did see one of the Bardiani riders come up, so he moved to the left in order to prevent him going on the attack. And there was another example where another Bardiani rider went on the attack and he chased him, nothing wrong with that, but he was also chatting to him and trying to put him off.
“Who are you to say, ‘you’re not allowed to race anymore’. It’s a bike race, we all want to see entertainment, we all want to see attacks. And if there are teams that still want to go up the road, I don’t think you should be able to block it.”
Blocking occurs when the team(s) at the front of the peloton fan across the road to prevent other riders moving up and attempting to join the breakaway.
Bora directeur sportif Christian Pomer was critical of the decision, saying it happened all the time.
“I spoke to Peter and he said he did nothing special,” Pomer told Eurosport before Stage 19.
It’s a normal procedure that the teams interested in having the breakaway up the road for the day that they block the road.
“This is common sense in cycling. This is what they do every day. There were a lot of teams happy with the breakaway, not only us. I didn’t see any TV footage where Peter did something wrong. I think it’s a bit strange what happened yesterday and I don’t understand it.”
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Should Sagan have been handed a heavier punishment?
While Lloyd was full of praise for Sagan’s contribution to cycling during an illustrious career, he wondered whether he should have been handed a heavier punishment.
“I just don’t agree with bigger teams blocking the road and stopping smaller riders and smaller teams from doing that,” he said.
“They will be influenced by Peter Sagan, he’s one of the biggest names in the sport. He’s been absolutely fantastic for our sport, the entertainment he’s given, the amount of people from outside the sport that he’s brought in because of the way he rides, because of the years he’s had through his career.
“He’s just learnt from the people that came before him and he does has that influence on what other people are doing. I’m quite glad they’ve at least done something.
“But the fine doesn’t mean anything to him - 1,000 CHF is nothing for him, nothing for his team. 50 UCI points? I don’t suppose he’ll care much about that. Take points away from the ciclamino jersey competition? Yes he would care.”
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