Andre Greipel became the second sprinter to lose out in the Giro d'Italia after his foot slipped out of the pedal at a critical time on Sunday's stage 3. While Caleb Ewan's foot slip on stage 2 cost him his chance at the leader's jersey, Greipel's problem took the pink jersey off his shoulders.
The end of Sunday's stage saw crosswinds and echelons and when Quick-Step Floors took off with 10 km to go, Greipel was alert and made sure he was part of the group. Soon, however, came the mishap.
"I was riding in the first echelon when I could just dodge the rider in front of me and at that moment my foot came loose from the pedal. That's how I got dropped from the first echelon," he said on the Lotto Soudal team's website.
His team led the charge to catch up with the new lead group, but crossed the line 13 seconds down. Greipel was third of the group, 10th on the stage. It was enough for him to continue to hold the points jersey.
"It is such a pity and I am disappointed," he added. "It was the perfect situation for me. Because Quick-Step Floors had so many riders in that group I could have kept calm in the back."
Because of the strong Quick-Step presence, another stage win would have been difficult, he admitted, although he would have held onto the overall lead through Monday's rest day.
"I could have maintained the pink jersey. But as a sportsman you have to be able to accept these things," he said.
"I definitely enjoyed wearing the maglia rosa and the atmosphere on Sardinia. Only the end could have been better."
The next opportunity for the sprinters is likely to come on Wednesday's stage 5 to Messina.