On Thursday Cadel Evans (BMC) and Daniele Righi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) swapped blows as the Italian domestique tried to slow the chase and the world champion lost his cool after missing the break that included many of his overall rivals.
The morning after, before Friday’s stage to Cesenatico, the two were friends again and apologetic about turning the final kilometres of the stage into a boxing match. They shook hands and admitted they had lost their cool. They had risked disqualification or a time penalty, which would have hurt Evans more than Righi, but the race judges were lenient and they got away with just a fine of 2000 Swiss francs or 1500 Euro each.
Evans admitted he lost his usual self-control. "I exaggerated. I'm sorry. What happened is bad for the image of cycling. Riders during the race can be very different than in the normal life," he said.
In his blog, Evans said: “My fault for not being there, I didn't position myself very well. I was relying on Sky and Garmin to chase a bit more. Hence me getting frustrated with those who were purposely slowing down the chase, not the done thing in professional cycling. I let it be known to them, much to everyone's entertainment – sorry about that - not bad for a boring rider who never attacks, hey?”
Righi criticised Evans but was also apologetic. "Cycling is a team sport and slowing down the pace at the front of the bunch is part of the game. I didn't brake, I didn't do anything wrong. When Evans pushed me and hit me, I defended myself but he’s the world champion. He should be an example. However we have apologised. What we did wasn't nice.”