Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) was fuming after the finish of stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia, where he finished second to stage winner Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) after the pair clashed in a twisting, technical uphill sprint at the Santuario di Castelmonte.
Schmid accused Bouwman of chopping his line in the turn but the jury declared the Dutchman the winner.
"In my opinion it was not a fair sprint, it was pretty clear, my handlebars are still in front and he nearly crashed in the last corner," Schmid said on Eurosport. "He just knows he's slower in the sprint and he just pushed me away. You'll see when you watch the last 100-200m. I could do nothing."
Schmid and Bouwman were five of the survivors from the day's 12-rider breakaway to remain out front with four minutes on the maglia rosa group on the final climb to the finish. Schmid took the front coming into 200m to go and had the inside line, but Bouwman came over the top into the first left-hand bend. A sharper left turn followed, where Schmid was forced to the outside and nearly ran into the barriers, losing momentum as Bouwman leapt away to the victory.
"It was not fair in my opinion. Second place is first loser, so I'm not happy with that," Schmid said. "I think I had it in the legs today. Of course, I'm disappointed but I want to say thanks to the team, especially [Davide] Ballerini - he pushed so hard for me the first 100k. With his help he made it possible that we had such a big gap."
As bad as it was for Schmid, it was worse for AG2R-Citroën's Andrea Vendrame, who was on the outside of Schmid into the final sharp turn and ended up going straight into a banner closing off the vehicle deviation.
The Italian was also quite annoyed after missing out on a chance for a home-soil stage win and a first success for his team in this Giro d'Italia.
"I didn't think they played it properly, I don't think that was right," he said to Eurosport after the five riders took the final kilometre at a walking pace, with Bouwman, Schmid, Vendrame, Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF) closely marking each other until the dramatic final 200 metres.
"I'm not sure what tactic the others had. I knew there was a corner and I wanted to go outside - that meant I would have had a good run after the final corner but unfortunately they got there first. I'm not happy with that.
"At least there weren't any barriers because at least then I would have hurt myself. I'm still racing at home and we'll see what happens in the last days."
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