Elia Viviani has apologised for missing the podium ceremony on the final day of the Tour de San Luis and revealed the extent of his anger at Jakub Mareczko, the teammate who snatched victory from him.
The two riders were racing alongside each other in the colours of the Italian national team, and Viviani, assuming he was the designated man for the sprints, was shocked to see the 21-year-old come from two places back to pip him to the line in a photo finish.
Viviani described himself as "out of control" and was so angry that he rode straight back to the hotel instead of attending the podium ceremony alongside his teammate, for fear of not being able to control himself. He took to Twitter on Monday to apologise and explain his actions.
"With a cool head, I apologise to all the fans, to the Tour de San Luis, and to the Italian Cycling Federation for my bad gesture," he said.
"I wasn’t myself, I wasn't expecting it and I was enraged and out of control. The decision I made was the wrong one, but I did it because I wasn't sure I'd be able to control myself.
"That said, there will be people who think I don't deserve the azzurra [Italian blue] jersey, but others who know how much I do for the azzurra jersey."
Viviani might have expressed contrition over leaving the second step of the podium empty, but made clear his feelings on the incident itself by retweeting a selection of messages he had received from people claiming he had been wronged.
For his part, Mareczko had not a single regret, and insisted he would have no hesitation in risking Viviani's wrath by doing the same thing all over again. The Southeast rider also claimed there was no agreement that he would work for Viviani, arguing that he wouldn't have even travelled to the race if he wasn't going to be able to go for stage wins.
"Without a doubt I would do it again straight away. The terms were clear: when they invited me to come here to San Luis, they told me that I would be able to play my cards," he told the Tuttobici website.
"I came here to train, to race, and to go for victories. Otherwise I wouldn't have come, and I'd have stayed at the training camp with my teammates. I'm sorry I've created controversy, but I repeat that I would be prepared to do it again."
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