HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Valerio Piva echoed Mark Cavendish's sentiments after stage two of the Giro d'Italia, namely that the Manxman would have been disqualified had he sprinted in the same manner as winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD).
"If you see the regulations, the riders need to stay in their line, but Petacchi doesn't stay in his line," Piva told reporters outside Parma's Centro Congressi.
"For the same things, Cavendish was sometimes in the past out [disqualified]. In the Tour, in Switzerland... If Cavendish did something like this... I don't want to make shit but I don't think that Petacchi had to do that if he wanted to beat Cavendish, it's not really fair play."
While Piva was critical of what he felt were Petacchi's attempts to shut the door in the sprint, he acknowledged that the Italian had been astute in opting to begin his effort ahead of Cavendish.
"I saw two years ago in Trieste that Petacchi knows that he needs to anticipate," he admitted. "That's what he needs to do, but maybe he closed a little bit."
Piva was also disappointed that his team had little help in setting the pace at head of peloton for much of the duration of the stage, but he conceded that with maglia rosa Marco Pinotti in their ranks, HTC-Highroad was obliged to take on the bulk of the workload.
"Okay, we have the jersey and we have that responsibility, but I asked for Lampre to help us and they said no," he said. "Garmin put one rider at the front from the feed zone. We rode a lot of kilometres in front but I'm not complaining because when you have the jersey you have the responsibility."
He explained that HTC-Highroad's efforts earlier in the stage meant that they were lacking a little in manpower in the frantic final moments.
"If you need to use riders before, then it's normal that you don't have the whole train in the finale," Piva said.
Although Cavendish inherits the pink jersey from his companion Pinotti, it was scant consolation for an HTC-Highroad outfit dedicated to piloting their sprinting to victory.
"The objective today was to win the sprint because Cavendish is not here for the GC," he said. "It's nice to have the pink jersey but he wants to win a stage in the Giro this year and today was a chance. I think we have two or three more."
With the first summit finish coming on Friday's stage at Montevergine, Cavendish's spell in the maglia rosa has a clear expiry date, but Piva feels that the nature of the course and of the racing means that they will have their work cut out to defend the lead beyond the next two stages.
"Tomorrow the finale is also a little bit tricky and don't forget that Livorno is also not easy," he said. "It's possible [to defend the lead], but I see a lot of teams that will be trying something in the finale. There are a lot of teams that don't really have sprinters so they will make some attack in the finale, and it's difficult to control. It's not easy, but we'll try."
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