Like stage winner Fernando Gaviria, Elia Viviani (Team Sky) swapped track racing for road sprinting on stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico, using his finishing speed to take third place after a battle for position and a hectic sprint in the final kilometre.
The Italian left London angry and disappointed after losing out on a gold medal and world title in the Omnium after finishing second behind Mark Cavendish in the final sprint of the points race. He had only a day to recover from his intense week of track racing before heading to Tirreno-Adriatico but refused to use it as an alibi for his placing.
“The excuse of only being just back from the track isn’t a valid on here because Gaviria won,” Viviani pointed out. “I’m satisfied with third place. It's a good way to come back after three weeks on the track and here the level is very, very high. Gaviria did well - it was a really strong sprint. The boy is a phenomenon.
“It was a chaotic sprint. The lads did an excellent job to keep me at the front in the last ten kilometres because it was a narrow and twisting road in the finale. We don’t have a lead-out train so Kwiatkowski and Pete Kennaugh helped me to get into position, but it was easy to lose places on these curves. There were lots of turns - left, right, left, right - and I lost Gaviria’s wheel right at 300 metres to go so I was a bit behind starting the sprint. But in the last 200m I produced a good effort and I'm happy with third."
The final sprint in the Omnium has reportedly marked the end of a long-standing friendship and mutual respect with Cavendish. Viviani thought Cavendish would help him in the final sprint because the Manxman had nothing to gain by winning the final sprint. He tweeted that he has lost one of his idols after what happened but only blames himself.
He refused to say anything else when speaking to Cyclingnews, preferring to look ahead and perhaps be up there in a possible sprint at the end of Monday’s stage to Cepagatti.
“I want to put all that behind me now,” he said. “The Track Worlds are over. I lost. Gaviria is the world champion and I’m looking ahead now to the Olympics. I’ll prepare for those aiming to be even stronger than I was at the Worlds.”
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