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Almedia avoids ‘yellow card’ penalty after judges correct Giro d’Italia littering decision

Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

João Almeida and his Deceuninck-QuickStep team have managed to overturn a ‘yellow card’ penalty for littering during stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia, meaning the Portuguese rider is no longer at risk of receiving a one-minute penalty for a second offence.  

Almeida and Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) were both fined 500 Swiss francs and docked 25 UCI ranking points in the official race results published two hours after Monday’s stage finish.   

Under the new strict UCI rules for littering in stage races, they risked a time penalty for a second offence, effectively placing them in a yellow card situation and threatening Almeida overall ambitions in the Giro d’Italia if he was punished for a second littering offence. A third offence can be punished with disqualification from the race.  

However as the riders signed on before stage 4 rolled out of a rain-soaked Piacenza on Tuesday morning, Almeida confirmed that his punishment had been cancelled. According to the Spaziociclismo website, Almeida, who wears race number 92, was confused with his teammate Fausto Masnata, who wears number 97.

“They’ve cancelled my penalty,” Almeida told RAI television before the start, with Zoccarato saying he was hoping for similar treatment when the race results are published after stage 4.

“I was on the attack all day and I knew that the television cameras were on me, so I was extra careful not to litter. I’ve spoken to the judges and I hope why cancel my punishment but it’s my word against theirs.”

The UCI introduced the strict new littering rules on April 1 but they were then softened after an uproar following the disqualification of Michale Schär during the Tour of Flanders after he threw a bottle towards a roadside fan while riding alone.    

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