While Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) powered his way through a gap along the barriers to win the chaotic sprint in Tortona and so take his fourth stage victory, Caleb Ewan was again left frustrated and unable to take a clean run at the finish.
The Orica-Scott sprinter won in Alberobello on stage 7 but has finished in the top 10 four times, including second on stage 1 behind late attacker Lukas Pöstlberger, who stopped Ewan taking the first pink jersey of the 100th Giro d'Italia. While everything seems to be going Gaviria's way, Ewan and Orica-Scott have been left with little reward for their hard work.
Ewan tried to go through a gap and open up his sprint only for Max Richeze to close the door on him as he made space for Gaviria to charge through.
"It was another frustrating sprint, it seems to be the theme of the Giro so far," Ewan said at the Orica-Scott team bus parked near the finish.
"I was behind Gaviria's lead-out man and Bennett's lead-out man and they were boxing and hitting into each other. They almost crashed into each other. I then got caught behind them and I couldn't get out of there."
"At this level, you have to have a lot of things go right for you. I don't know if I've been especially unlucky but I feel I've had a lot of frustration in the finishes. It can go either way and hopefully when I come back next year, I'll have more luck."
Ewan is already looking forward to the 2018 Giro d'Italia because he knows there are no more opportunities for the sprinters in this year's race. Lotto Soudal's André Greipel has confirmed he will head home and other sprinters – except Gaviria, who is keen to finish his first Grand Tour – are expected to leave sooner or later to avoid suffering in the string of mountain stages in the final week.
Ewan said he is still feeling strong and so officially plans to stay in the Giro d'Italia for now. He perhaps could play a team role in the next two stages to Oropa and Bergamo and then head home on the third rest day on Monday or ride on into the high mountains.
The Orica-Scott team will study his recovery daily and not hesitate to send him home if or when fatigue begins to bite hard.
"I felt good, I felt really good yesterday and today. I'm still feeling pretty fresh I guess," Ewan said.
"I've spoken to Whitey (directeur sportif Matt White) and were taking it day by day at the moment. I'm not going to go absolutely into my max depth just to stay in the Giro. I've got races on after this as well, so I really don't want to put myself into the hole."
"I'd like to see how far I can go before I really start to fatigue. When I get into a real fatigued state, that's when I'll have to go home."
Stage 14 highlights