Giro d'Italia shorts: Sprint battles, foreign winners

Sprinters fight back

After two mountaintop finishes and two rest days, the sprinters will return to the fore in Salsomaggiore Terme. They’ll have to make the most of it, as there are only a couple of more sprint opportunities after today.

So far, the sprints have been dominated by Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Nacer Bouhanni (, with two victories apiece. With Kittel out of the race since stage four, Bouhanni has the chance to take the lead in the sprint victory stakes.

Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano), Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) will all be out to thwart the Frenchman’s ambitions. Whatever happens, the winner on Stage 10 will have to rely on his teammates and his wits as the road twists and turns through Salsomaggiore Terme. The final right-hand corner could be the determining factor today.

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Tantrums and bidons

Former track world champion turned road cyclist Edwin Ávila (Colombia) was sent packing on Sunday, after he finished 3:01 outside of the time cut. However, it wasn’t an injury or a crash that prevented him from making it.

According to Danilo Hondo’s Giro d’Italia blog on, it was all because of a drink. The 24-year-old wanted a bidon in the last 20 kilometres, which is banned on all but the hottest of days. Disobeying the rule results in a CHF50 fine, something his team were reluctant to pay.

Frustrated with his team’s refusal, Ávila decided to climb off – in an attempt to put pressure on his directors. The plan backfired when he missed the cut.

“At home, [he] can now drink as much as he wants,” wrote Hondo.

First foreign winner

Perhaps a good omen for Nacer Bouhanni, but 20 May 1910 is the date the first foreign rider won a stage of the Giro d’Italia. Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Dortignacq out sprinted his fellow countryman Lucian Petit-Breton and Carlo Galetti. He later abandoned the race and that season would mark the end of his career.

Dortignacq was more successful in his home race, the Tour de France, winning seven stages and finishing on the podium twice.

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