Leading riders at the Giro d’Italia made a hash of an intermediate sprint after racing to the wrong line.
Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarche - Wanty - Gobert Materiaux) were battling it out for points, but accidentally finished their sprint prematurely.
The quartet eased up after going under a banner declaring 40 kilometres remaining, rather than the actual mark a few hundred metres up the road.
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Gaviria was quickest to realise the error, guiltily pressing on with Viviani behind as the oblivious Pasqualon and Sagan trundled along behind.
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“They got it wrong, oh deary me,” said Rob Hatch on Eurosport commentary.
“They got through the first point, thought that was the sprint, and then Gaviria came through and took it.
What an almighty mess that was.
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Fortunately for the offending quartet, the mistake is unlikely to prove too costly in the race for the maglia ciclamino.
Breakaway duo Filippo Tagliani (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) had already hoovered up the main points, with Gaviria only getting six for leading home the main bunch in third.
Arnaud Demare won the points classification in 2020 with 233 points – suggesting there is plenty of time for atonement.
“It’s easy to do… when you’re there in the sprint,” chimed in 1988 Vuelta champion Sean Kelly on Eurosport.
“You could see that the actual sprint started quite early, normally it would have been a shorter one.
“But they made a mistake, they sprinted for the first banner and the actual point was quite a bit further up the road.”
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Hatch added: “They’ll be hoping their respective challenges for the maglia ciclamino are a little smoother than that.”
The Giro runs for three weeks and finishes in Milan on May 30.
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