Gaviria wins Giro stage 3 after Viviani relegated for sprint

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ORBETELLO, Italy — Elia Viviani was stripped of winning the third stage at the Giro d’Italia on Monday.

Viviani was ruled by the race jury to have deviated from his line in the final sprint in Orbetello, even touching wheels with Italian compatriot Matteo Moschetti.

Viviani finished second on Sunday and thought he’d made up for it on Monday at the end of the 220-kilometer (137-mile) route from Vinci.

Instead, Fernando Gaviria of Colombia was given the win, with Arnaud Demare second and Pascal Ackermann third.

“It’s difficult to smile or to be happy when something like this happens to a friend,” Gaviria said. “I’m disappointed for him because for me nothing happened. For me he’s the winner.

“The decision is extreme. He never looked back to see who was behind him so he didn’t do it with any intent. He only wanted to win, not to damage someone. He’s always been correct, a great racer. I’m disappointed for him.”

Viviani left the finish zone after the decision without speaking to journalists and with an angry expression, in contrast to his joy when he was interviewed immediately after crossing the line.

He used that interview to apologize to Moschetti and revealed how much Sunday’s disappointment played on his mind.

“Yesterday I made a mistake. I thought about it all night,” Viviani said.

Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic remained the overall leader.

Roglic, who won the opening time trial on Saturday, is 19 seconds ahead of British cyclist Simon Yates, and 23 seconds ahead of home favorite Vincenzo Nibali.

The peloton had a relatively easy day, which was characterized by strong crosswinds at the finish and a long solo ride from lone escape Sho Hatsuyama. The Japanese cyclist raced about 144 kilometers on his own before being caught 75 kilometers from the finish.

“It was an easy day actually because only one guy in the front, all day nothing,” Roglic said. “But it was quite windy and then the stress at the end. The team did the perfect job and we finished without any problems.”

The fourth stage on Tuesday is an undulating 234-kilometer route from Orbetello to Frascati, with an uphill finish which could see a change in the pink jersey.

The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.

Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead to win the Tour Down Under, the first event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second place on overall standings. Vine came in second on the stage to secure the biggest win of his career in a stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took the overall tour lead when he finished second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He came into the final stage with a 15-second lead on general classification.

The 70-mile stage involved four laps of a 15.5 mile-circuit through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just beyond the summit of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the crucial attack on the ascent less than 1.2 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped onto his wheel and Australian Ben O’Connor also joined in.

O’Connor led out close to the finish line, Vine briefly passed him but Yates came over the top to claim the stage win. Vine retained his overall advantage and claimed the title in his debut appearance in the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made his name in e-Sports before being signed by the UAE team after winning the academy program on the Zwift online platform. He won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the Australian Time Trial title.

“It’s pretty incredible to be standing here and wearing this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove that was first class. My guys were incredible.”

The final stage featured a breakaway of 13 riders but Vine’s UAE teammates led the chase by the peloton and put their rider in a position to contest the win.

Yates again rode an aggressive race but had to be happy with the stage win.

“We came Down Under with a lot of ambition. We put a lot into it and we didn’t come away with the overall but we can walk away pretty happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a massive talent and the crowd will be happy with a local winner.”

France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

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ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Bryan Coquard won Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under for his first-ever World Tour win, while Australia’s Jay Vine retained the overall tour lead by 15 seconds with one stage remaining.

Coquard is a lightweight sprinter who has had 49 wins in a decade-long career but had never won on the World Tour until he cleared out near the finish to claim the 82-mile stage by a margin of about just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group that shared Coquard’s winning time and who retained his lead on general classification over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race concludes with Stage 5, which ends atop 2,329-foot Mount Lofty.

“It’s a long time that I’ve waited for this win, 10 years,” said Coquard, who rides for the French Cofidis team. “I never really expected and I’m very happy and relieved with this win.”

While the stage was flat and suited sprinters, it had its challenges. Cross-winds and occasional gradients made the stage difficult and confounded some riders.

After an early breakaway by Jonas Rutsch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton broke into two groups with Vine and other tour leaders among the leading group.

The leading group stayed together around the last, sharp bend towards the finish and Coquard bided his time until his late sprint left other riders flat-footed.

“It was pretty stressful,” Vine said. “There was one point there, I thought we were going to have an easy day and I was happy, smiling, waving to families on the side of the road.

“Then, 45 kilometers in it was on and it was on until the end so it was a very hard day. There was a lot more calorie expenditure than I was planning.”