Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was first over the line during stage 21 in Turin and celebrated what he thought was his first-ever stage victory in the Giro d'Italia, only to see race judges relegated him from first place and award victory to Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin). The German sprinter finished second, ahead of Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), who was blocked by Nizzolo's move to the barriers as the finish line approached.
Race judges relegated Nizzolo for what they believed was dangerous riding. He was ahead of Modolo but changed his line with a sudden gesture that forced Modolo to sit up. The Lampre-Merida sprinter waved his finger in disapproval after crossing the line. He wasn't happy after also suffering through the mountain stages in the hope of winning the final sprint in Turin.
"I think everyone saw what happened. I touched his wheel with my wheel and almost finished in the barriers," Modolo told Cyclingnews and Gazzetta dello Sport just seconds after the sprint. "It's okay to change lines during a sprint but not to close me like that, when I had my head down. I think it was a dangerous move. I was coming through at about 60 kilometres an hour. I think from the video that everyone can see what happened."
Nizzolo had celebrated his victory with family and friends only to be told he had been relegated to 12th place after a long extenuating wait in the podium area. Judges took their time before making their surprise decision, with the long podium ceremony put on hold until a final decision was made. Nizzolo eventually climbed on the podium to collect the red points jersey but he was not happy and struggled to raise a smile. He pointed to the Trek-Segafredo logos on his jersey to indicate who had won.
"I missed out on a win in this Giro d'Italia because they took it away from me," Nizzolo said later to the media in the mixed zone.
"I don't think I did anything wrong, it was clear I was going on the left side and Modolo was behind my bike, he wasn't on my side. It was pretty clear that he couldn't pass me anyway. That's why I'm really sorry that they took away the sprint victory."
Nizzolo has worn the red jersey for much of the second half of the Giro d'Italia and unlike many of his sprint rivals; he suffered through the mountains in the hope of winning a stage. He missed in Cassano d'Adda near his home in Milan on stage 17 when Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling) helped off the peloton with a late attack but scored enough points to win the race-long competition by 25 points ahead of Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep). It as his second consecutive victory in the points competition but he really wanted a stage victory to help cancel his nine second places of recent years.
"At the moment it's difficult to enjoy having won the red jersey because I really thought I'd won the stage and celebrated victory with lots of friends. Maybe tomorrow I'll appreciate having won the jersey. It's always a big goal for me but it's not the only one I wanted and not the only one I thought I'd won," he said.
Watch 2016 Giro d'Italia stage 21 highlights video
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