The Ruta del Sol's second sprint in three days was enveloped in a short-lived but intense controversy after Spanish sprinter Carlos Barbero (Movistar) lodged an ultimately unsuccessful protest against Sacha Modolo (EF-Education First-Drapac) for alleged unfair manoeuvres.
Second on the line at Herrera on stage 3, albeit a wheel length behind Modolo, Barbero was visibly annoyed at the finish and he quickly lodged a protest with the commissaires.
The protest was almost equally quickly turned down, but Barbero was still fuming at the result. In his post-stage interview, he blasted Modolo for what he felt was unfair sprinting - a claim Modolo firmly denied.
"I had the strength, but I didn't get the results," Barbero said. "Both he [Modolo] and I know that I was going faster, but he closed me in. But the commissaires have decided what they've decided. When you know you could have won, but don't, you feel really terrible."
Barbero said he had entangled twice with Modolo in the final kilometre, first in a difficult left-hand corner 300 metres from the line.
"He slammed into me in the last big corner, but I could get back up there to the front," Barbero said. "Then there was a bit of a curve to the right, I went up on the left and that's where he saw I was coming up fast, I had to brake and even then I could regain some distance on him. I think it's very clear.
"I will try to win again another day, but the opportunity to get this result isn't ever coming back."
Barbero said he had said "a good few things to Modolo," at the finish, telling him, "I told him that you don't do things like that."
Modolo later denied all charges of blocking in the Spanish sprinter.
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