Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) angrily refused to shake hands with Coppa Sabatini winner Andrea Pasqualon, convinced that the Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider had closed him against the barriers in the uphill sprint, forcing him to brake and lose any chance of victory.
Colbrelli finished second, with Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) third, but he was livid at the finish and quickly returned to the podium to make a protest and demand that the race judges look at the television images of the sprint. He wanted Pasqualon relegated.
“If he’d had done a clean sprint, I’d have passed him no problem. I had to stop pedalling and touched his wheel. On this uphill finish, it’s difficult to make up ground after that,” he said.
“I was going twice his speed. When he saw me coming up, he squeezed me against the barriers. If they want to do things right, as they did when they disqualified Bouhanni and other sprinters recently, they should disqualify him too.”
Colbrelli won the Coppa Sabatini in 2014 and 2016. He was looking for a third victory to make up for a disappointing display at the world championships, when he struggled to go with the attacks and was only 13th in the final sprint won by Slovakia’s Peter Sagan.
After the judge confirmed Pasqualon as the winner, Colbrelli refused to shake hands with Pasqualon and refused to smile on the podium. He also deserted the post-race press conference.
— Cyclingnews.com (@Cyclingnewsfeed) September 28, 2017
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