Fernando Gaviria at the Vuelta a San Juan.

Run-in with teammate derails Gaviria’s hopes on Giro stage 2

Things did not go according to plan for UAE-Team Emirates on stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia.

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Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE-Team Emirates) led the pack into the last few hundred meters on Sunday’s second stage of the Giro d’Italia hoping to help his teammate Fernando Gaviria in the sprint, but things didn’t exactly go according to plan in the final moments of the day. Instead of launching Gaviria to victory, Molano instead closed a narrow window on his own teammate, who fortunately managed to stay upright despite running into the barriers.

Gaviria would finish 24th on the day as Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) took the win ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis).

“These are race situations, they happen and you have to keep trying,” Gaviria said after the stage.

Molano was at the head the field in the finale of the 179 km stage from Stupingi to Novara, but Gaviria was not immediately behind his teammate at first. With 250 meters to go, Viviani was tucked in behind Molano, with Merlier starting to wind up his sprint behind that and with Gaviria just behind Merlier. As the road curved slightly, Merlier launched on the left, while Gaviria tried to launch through a narrow gap on Molano’s right.

As Merlier pulled to the front, however, Molano drifted slightly to his right, leaving Gaviria no room to get by. Gaviria made contact with his teammate as he pulled even and the collision drove him into the barriers. He skillfully avoided crashing, but the incident took the five-time Giro stage winner and 2017 Giro points champion out of contention for the stage.

Afterward, Gaviria was optimistic despite the miscue.

“We have to analyze what we can improve. It could have been worse. We did not fall,” he said.

“There is nothing to worry about and we will try again.”

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