Gaviria's miraculous save after being put into barriers by teammate

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was lucky to avoid a full crash after hitting the barriers at full speed during the final sprint on Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia.

104th Giro d'Italia 2021 - Stage 2

Fernando Gaviria and Max Richeze of UAE Team Emirates at the finish of Stage 2 of the 2021 Giro. Source: Getty

Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) was the winner of the stage, the Belgian up near the front of the chaotic finale as UAE Team Emirates set a high pace in the final few hundred metres. Merlier launched and took the fastest line around the final bend to hold off Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-ASSOS) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) for his maiden Grand Tour win. Behind him, Gaviria shook his hand, looked to his teammate and rued his luck.

Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia was the first bunch sprint of the race and Gaviria was among the favourites to win in Novara. Things initially looked good for the Colombian as he accelerated after a good leadout by his teammates.

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Gaviria had become slightly detached from his leadout train, but was close enough to the front that he benefitted from teammate Juan Sebastian Molano keeping the pace high into the final 250 metres. He followed Tim Merlier's wheel and then took a different line as the eventual stage-winner swung outside, with Gaviria looking to squeeze up the inside.

As Gaviria accelerated along the barriers while passing Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo, teammate Molano accidentally 'closed the door' on him, moving across to the barriers to not allow anyone to get through. Gaviria was tipped in the barriers, and hit them hard but managed to slide along them, recover and stay upright, though he was shaking his hand in clear pain after the incident. 

"I hit the barriers but thankfully I stayed upright," Gaviria said afterwards. "It wasn't the finish I wanted but it's something that can happen in a sprint."



The Colombian wiped off a lot of speed in the incident and slipped back to a 24th place finish behind the stage winner after potentially being in contention for the win if things had gone in his favour.

"The legs are good which is the main thing. There are plenty more chances to come," said Gaviria. "The team has faith in me and so tomorrow could be a chance to be a little luckier. I can't wait."

The Giro d'Italia continues on SBS with Stage 3, a hilly course from Biella to Canale over 190 kilometres that offers opportunities for the climbing sprinters and attackers. Watch the race on SBS OnDemand from 2010 AEST, with the SBS VICELAND coverage starting at 2120.

 


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3 min read
Published 10 May 2021 at 9:42am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS