Monday, 7 May 2012

Giro d'Italia Stage 3: Tributes, Crashes And Curses

Today's stage started with a minutes silence for Wouter Weylandt who tragically died in a crash during stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia last year leaving behind a pregnant wife and a peloton full of close friends. Last year saw stage 4 neutralised as Wouter's teammates and close friend Tylar Farrar crossed the finish arm in arm. A year on and life goes on, but today was a timely reminder just how dangerous this sport can be. Clearly Roberto Ferrari wasn't listening...

This was the scene come the end of today's stage as Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli) swung wildly from his line in an effort to win the sprint, taking out Mark Cavendish (that's him on the desk) and pink jersey wearer Taylor Phinney amongst others. In a move nothing short of amateur and dangerous there are now calls for Ferrari to be booted off the race, though an Italian, riding an Italian grand tour, controlled by Italian staff, ordered by an Italian organiser - he will probably continue to race but if he does he will get plenty of stick (verbal and tactical) from a quite a few in the peloton who have been quick to get on twitter and condemn Ferrari's actions (mainly other sprinters who know all of the unwritten rules of their trade). Certainly not a great way to end a race that start with a tribute to a rider who died in a crash. Cavendish himself hasn't made any comments yet, bet your life that when he does they will contain a few choice words, not all of them allowed pre-watershed. Ferrari may have made his situation worse with this corker in an interview with Rai Sport after the race "I didn't do anything wrong. I can change my trajectory, I don't care of anything that happens behind me." hmm, quite.

I mentioned yesterday the 'curse of the pink jersey' following Scarponi's disappointing prologue and Phinney's dramatic final 8km yesterday and the curse appears to have struck again as Taylor Phinney also found himself on the floor as a result of Ferrari's misguided sprint. The pink jersey now has holes in it, which may help to break the curse, but at the time it looked as though this would be the end of Taylor Phinneys Giro d'Italia as the cameras focused on him clutching his ankle at the side of the road for quite some time. Phinney though, the hard man that he is (as if Phinney wasn't likable enough, we found out today that he speaks fluent Italian!) managed to drag his swollen feet (packed with ice) to the podium to once again zip on the pink jersey. What we thought was a broken ankle thankfully turned out to require a few stitches. Taylor will be glad of the rest day tomorrow as the teams make the transfer from Denmark to Italy, but who knows what will await him and the jersey in stage 4, a hurricane perhaps? or maybe some form of plague...

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