Viviani revs up for Worlds with Tour of Britain win

Italian holds no grudges after Boasson Hagen's stage 2 relegation

Today's second stage of the Tour of Britain saw Team Sky sprinter Elia Viviani take his fifth career win at the race, but it didn't come without controversy. Dimension Data's Edvald Boasson Hagen was the first man over the line in Blyth but was demoted for irregular sprinting after a long period of deliberation by the race jury.

"For sure we are happy with the jury decision," said Viviani after hearing the news, which came almost an hour after the stage had finished. "After the finish line, I had this feeling because when we started the sprint half the road was free, and then I saw him come straight from the left.

"In that moment I didn't have the space to pass him. I stopped pedaling, restarted the sprint, and I was really focused on finishing second because I knew something was wrong in the sprint. Then the jury did their job and took this decision."

Understandably angry in the immediate aftermath of the sprint, Viviani had long cooled down by the time the final decision was taken, and had only positive things to say about his rival.

"He's a good guy and said sorry to me straight away," he said. "He said he had his head down and didn't see where he was going, but yes from my point of view he came into my line. But still, we wanted the stage win because I think today we deserved it.

"Eddy is in a good moment, in really good shape. It's three weeks from his home Worlds [in Bergen], so he's now demonstrated that he is maybe the strongest Norwegian. He wanted to demonstrate that. I like Eddy [to win this race]."

The stage win means that Viviani has racked up five wins in the past four weeks, including the World Tour one-day races, Cyclassics Hamburg and the Bretagne Classic - Ouest France. With just over two weeks to go until the World Championships road race, everything seems to be coming together at just the right time for him.

"I'm going - I think the most important point is to do this week - not the Vuelta - but this race programme because it's eight days in the legs. It's up-and-down every day, stressful, and it's the best way to arrive at the Worlds.

"This Worlds is not for the sprinters," he added. "But after the win in Plouay [now named the Bretagne Classic] I'm feeling really strong in the up-and-down, medium-hard stages. Yes, I want to try for it, I want to try."

Last year in Qatar, Viviani (who finished 20th) shared leadership of the Italian team with Trek-Segafredo's Giacomo Nizzolo (who took 5th). This time, however, he was quick to list the wealth of options available to his country, alluding to the multiple plans of attack the squad might have at the end of the month.

"I think you can see from the results who the leader will be, no? Nothing is official but if you see Trentin at the Vuelta - he's on fire," he said. "He's already won three stages, one in the breakaway and in the slightly uphill finish so I think he's maybe the man for Italy.

"Also, Colbrelli has the characteristics; he goes really well in the cold and rainy conditions. He's really good in Amstel and the second half of classics. Another guy who is really strong right now is Moscon. You saw all the work he did in the Vuelta for Froome, so I think the Italian guys will be [organised] around these names."

So maybe not the leader then, but Viviani is certainly confident, and once again he has shown that he's bang in-form. With the sprinters' teams sure to be keen to keep the race together to the end in Norway, Viviani might just be the wild-card on a talented Italian team.  

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