Italian sprinter Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) has been disqualified from the Giro d'Italia after being caught taking repeated tows of team vehicles on the steep climb in the finale of stage 16 to Ivrea. Gavazzi was the final finisher of stage 16, arriving in Ivrea amidst a group of 17 riders at 17:17 behind stage winner Benat Intxausti, but would later be disqualified.
Gavazzi had struggled in the mountains and was last overall in the overall classification but was desperate to finish the Giro d'Italia and contest the expected final sprint finish in his home town of Brescia.
The 29-year-old Italian rider has made a comeback from a positive test for cocaine and has got his life and career back on track thanks to being given a second chance by Androni Giocattoli team manager Gianni Savio. However, his race is now over.
"It's a pity but he's out of the race," Savio told Cyclingnews after being called in to see the race commissaries before they announced Gavazzi's disqualification.
"I warned him about holding onto cars but it seems he did it twice. Not with one of our cars but to some others. It's a pity and I'm sorry for him but I hope it's also a little lesson for him. He was desperate to make it to Brescia but he shouldn't have done what he did to try and make it."
Having learned of his disqualification, Gavazzi posted on Twitter: "Una leggerezza...un sogno infranto..." (A mistake... a broken dream...).
Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Leopard), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Radioshack-Leopard directeur sportif Dirk Demol were also fined after stage 16 for 'unseeming behaviour which damages the image of cycling'.