Ferrari’s Sideswitch and The Sprint Rules

Today’s Giro Stage 3 was a bunch sprint and the story of the day is that Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocatelli) switched across the road and taking out Mark Cavendish and Taylor Phinney amongst others. A series of screengrab photos helps tell the tale.

Ferrari Giro Sprint Crash

First we see Ferrari on Tyler Farrar’s wheel. To the right of the image Mark Cavendish is accelerating away from the two fluo yellow Farnese Vini riders after himself drifting right in order to start his sprint.

Ferrari Giro Sprint Crash

Next Ferrari is on the wheel of Saxo Bank’s Juan José Haedo, with his blue jersey. But Ferrari is slightly to the left of Haedo and there is space on the left. On the right note that FDJ’s Arnaud Démare has gone right and got onto Cav’s wheel, switching across but without any accident. So what happens next?

Ferrari Giro Sprint Crash

Now Ferrari sees Farrar going and wants to be on his wheel. As you can see from the image above he is beginning to move to the right. But note Ferrari isn’t the only switch here others have been moving.

Ferrari Giro Sprint Crash

But now we see Ferrari move direction, trying to fit through a tiny gap and forcing Mark Cavendish to swerve. It’s the angle of the move that surprises.

Ferrari Giro Sprint Crash

These images show what is happening in almost no time, note the road markers. Ferrari didn’t just open up his sprint by moving across the road, he swerved in a sudden movement that took Cavendish’s front wheel away and it appears to be a wild move.

What next?
For such a dangerous and risky activity, there are very few rules on sprinting. Here’s the sole mention in the UCI book:

2.3.036 Sprints Riders shall be strictly forbidden to deviate from the lane they selected when launching into the sprint and, in so doing, endangering others.

That’s all you get. Note it’s a bit ambiguous too. What does “and” mean? Is it it that you are strictly forbidden from changing lanes… or forbidden from changing lanes if it endangers others?

The first rule of sprint club is that you not talk about the rulebook
Dangerous sprinting is a bit like an elephant: it’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it. A rider switching direction and forcing others to swerve is dangerous; the same is true when the lead rider cuts across others and makes them brake. An accident can happen but even if it doesn’t the rider can get punished. Today’s move by Ferrari looks like an invitation for the commissaires to set an example.

By contrast a rider drifting across the road is more subtle. In the case with Cavendish and Démare today it is ok to jostle and jump. It seems that you can change lanes here so long as you do it over time. Rather than hopping from one side of the road, your lane doesn’t have to be straight. A diagonal charge to the line is often ok. Ferrari by contrast seems to have rode across everyone.

The next step
The Giro has a jury of commissaires and they can review TV footage. They’ll be reviewing the footage and almost certainly he’ll be punished. If the jury doesn’t act, a rider or someone from his team can protest the result and insist the jury reviews something. The question is whether Ferrari is merely relegated for today’s sprint and fined or given a bigger sanction, even throwing him out of the race.

Note comparisons with other dangerous things like Mark Renshaw’s Tour de France headbutt are not the same since that involved a distinct “act of violence” during a race and the rules – fairly or unfairly – distinguish between hitting someone and taking them out by dangerous riding. To put it another way you can carve up riders at 70km/h and provoke multiple injuries and one rule applies but pinch another rider or pull their hair and another rule applies.

Riders have their own rules
More often nobody’s citing the rulebook at the finish line, it’s more a matter of riding within the rules set by the sprinters themselves. Once a rider gets a reputation as dangerous they can find themselves shut out of the sprint. Others know a particular rider is not a wheel to be on and sprint trains try to shunt the riskier riders out of the way.

Hot heads
Sprinters are often lively types. You don’t hear it on TV but the sprint itself is lively with a lot of shouting, sometimes you can see the shoulder rubbing and more. Once over the finish line fast-twitch fibres aren’t just in the legs but tongues wag quickly and many can type fast too via twitter.

Given the intensity of the last kilometre it’s normal, it’s not like a climb where riders attack and don’t tend to get in the way. Take the same riders in a sprint finish and repeat 10 times and the result can vary, less so if you ran a race up the Mur de Huuy or the Zoncolan but the real variation is in the risk. Nobody crashes (ok, it can happen) uphill but a crash at 70km/h is scary at best.

It might be the riskiest and most dangerous aspect of a race but the rulebook doesn’t say very much. Whether it’s a bunch of gorillas or a collection of sprinters, when there are no laws then the group tends to make its unwritten rules. Here it’s sprinters who take the risks and who tend to assess who’s dangerous and who isn’t, although this is often selective at times.

It’s hard to write down what’s safe and what isn’t, it’s all about judgement and interpretation. If the rulebook is slim, it’s hard to write precisely about what’s ok and what isn’t. It’s more you know it when you see it. Given it’s all so open to interpretation, it’s no wonder riders and fans let debate rage over the sprint long after the finish line scaffold has been dismantled.

But I think we’ve seem a good example of reckless sprinting today and Roberto Ferrari will be lucky to start the race once it resumes in Italy. If he does take part then sections of the bunch are likely to give him and his team a hard time.

99 thoughts on “Ferrari’s Sideswitch and The Sprint Rules”

  1. Unless this is the worlds hardest spot the difference is there a chance the last two images are in fact the same? Wondered if you meant to post a crash screen grab? Feel free to delete this post once you fix or I’m wrong!

  2. Good coverage as always. Where does Phinney stand? I thought you had to finish the race under your own power? It appeared from TV coverage he went across the line in an ambulance. This was backed up by BMC twitter “Taylor crossed the finish line in the rescue squad and was examined.” He later appeared on the podium.

    • If you fall in a stage race during the last 3km you do not have cross the finish line. You’ll get the same time as the group you were in when you went down but will be classified as last on the stage. Here’s the UCI rule:

      “If, as the result of a duly noted fall in the last three kilometers, a rider cannot cross the finishing line, he shall be placed last in the stage and credited with the time of the rider or riders in whose company he was riding at the time of the accident.”

    • The UCI rules state that if a rider crashes in the last 3km then he can cross the finish line in an ambulance, be given last place on the stage but the same time as the group he was riding with. This is how Phinney was allowed to cross in the ambulance but remain in the race lead.

  3. I’m in agreement with you here. Ferrari made a stupid, crazy move, but if Cav (or anyone else) hadn’t been there, and Ferrari had won, we wouldn’t be having this discussion it was. Ferrari’s move was stupid and way too much of a deviation (I think even Ferrari realized this, sitting up and unclipping into the finish) but line-crashing like this happens all the time—usually with a much less dramatic result.

    I think it’s pretty well established that you’ve got to go above and beyond what would be considered racing to get fully ejected. Things like punching another rider, or grabbing their bars. I wasn’t particularly in agreement with Renshaw’s relegation for headbutting at the 2010 Tour, but it was a specific, aggressive move against another rider, right where everyone could see it, and the true beneficiary of the action (Cavendish, in that case) couldn’t be sanctioned.

    That said, plenty of good riders (mostly from English speaking countries) were really upset about Ferrari’s move today—Millar, Geraint Thomas, and Michael Berry all called for or implied there should be stiffer punishments. But Mark Renshaw and Baden Cooke both withheld outrage, saying things more along the lines of “good thing I/my teammates didn’t get taken out by that”. Maybe a little closer familiarity with how things play out in the final meters speaking there.

    • IIRC, Renshaw wasn’t booted from the Tour for the headbutting. He was booted from the Tour for deviating from his line into the path of another rider and forcing them up against the barriers. I think it was Tyler Farrar – would have to check to be sure though…
      His cause wasn’t aided by the replay showing he looked over his shoulder, saw Farrar accelerating on the left, and closed him down by moving over on him.

  4. I don’t know to what extent they actually follow the scale in part 12 in the UCI rulebook. If they do, there are two alternatives:
    “10.1 Deviating from selected lane, endangering other riders
    1st offence: relegation to the last place in his group, point classification penalty equal to the points awarded to the first place of the stage, 200 + 30″ in general class.”
    “in particularly serious cases, eliminate and fine a rider with 200 on the first offence”.

  5. Lets see… Single-handily take out the world champion and GC jersey in a single-fell-swoop. That trophy is gonna look nice on the mantle…

  6. gfurry: The 3 kilomter rule says you don’t have to finish if you’re involved in an accident.
    “If, as the result of a duly noted fall in the last three kilometers, a rider cannot cross the finishing line, he
    shall be placed last in the stage and credited with the time of the rider or riders in whose company he
    was riding at the time of the accident.”

  7. Is Cavendish missing the all conquering HTC sprint train? I know any rider could have been taken out by Ferrari but he looked a little out of position so late in the sprint.

  8. Thanks for the clarification. That is what I thought but the announcers were saying you have to cross the line with your bike without assistance. I never recalled anyone crossing the line when they crashed farther out but within 3K of the line.

  9. My reaction after seeing the sprint was that this was worse then Renshaw’s head butt and he should be thrown out of the race. You correctly point out that an egregiously bad line is still different than hitting or head butting, but I’d still like to see him thrown out. I admit I don’t know whether I would think differently if he hadn’t taken out two of the leaders’ jerseys.

    I saw Cavendish made some comments yesterday about lack of respect, which I would normally dismiss as Cavendish’s usual whining, but when I see someone from a wildcard team pull something like this, I start to think maybe Cav has a point, and maybe the wildcard teams should realize they are wildcard teams for a reason. (Of course, Bos yesterday proved that even the top teams have riders who need to learn bike handling skills.)

    • (Of course, Bos yesterday proved that even the top teams have riders who need to learn bike handling skills.)

      I love such comments. I love it when riders go down others assuming they lack bike handling skill. Even when the offending rider has won multiple world championships. Of course they were on the track, so they don’t really count do they?

      Bike racing is a dangerous and difficult sport. Sprinting is the most dangerous aspect of the sport. Hitting a hard right hander at about 200 meters from the finish in a full mass sprint cranks the level of difficulty even more. Reading the post race interviews it is clear that most of the riders (even those who made it through) thought they were going into the corner too hot. Coming off a line in such a corner and touching a wheel is not unexpected.

      Interesting to hear Sean Kelly’s comments after stage 2 and the finishing crash. Crashing is part of the sport. Luck plays a huge role in success and failure. A pile up is not necessarily someone’s “fault”. Sometimes they just happen as part of the sport. The crashes at the end of Stage 2 and 3 are as different as night and day.

      Needs to learn bike handling skills indeed.

  10. I think sometimes it’s kind of nice that these rules are left open to interpretation. You don’t get to ride the Giro without having experienced all sorts of group riding/racing. The etiquette should be learned and absorbed. Trying to write down rules for all the nuances of the peloton would be pretty thankless!

    Typo in The first rule…, para 2, last sentence. You say Farrar, but I think you mean Ferrari.

  11. Ferrari should be kicked out no doubt. However Cav was caught out of position and having to make up a huge amount of ground. Cav was coming from 10-12 wheels back and perhaps missing his leadout man.

  12. I am surprised that the UCI and Kelly haven’t been thinking about eliminating the 3km rule. Because c’mon riders after a crashed aren’t even in a hurry to get on their bikes and cross the finish line!
    That would be “fun” seeing a whole peleton that is stuck behind a crash trying to get over the fallen riders and make it to the line first!

    • That was ‘Cav’ and Ferrari isn’t. You should know this by now.
      Some of the English-speaking media were awful about this too (Tour de Suisse 2010), wouldn’t go beyond ‘collision’.

      • There isn’t much more to say about that one. Cav drifts, sure, but it’s a long way from Ferrari’s dramatic swerve. I think you’re stretching a point, to say the least.

    • liste to the commentary …
      “it wasn’t Cavendish’s mistake I apologise for that … Hausler comes across … there’s nowhere to go, they just lean on each other and …”

      so not quite the same story

    • El Gato, why is everyone ignoring the move Cav makes at 11 seconds and focusing on the crash. There seems to be a lack of reading comprehension on here.

      Cav’s across the road move at 11 seconds is as bad as Ferrari. It didn’t crash anyone so nobody cares. Good point.

      • @cd Because love makes blind. Luckily Italy has a reputation of dropping Cavendish uphill. He will probably only do 10 stages in Il Giro and 12-14 stages in TDF, so no fuss about a flatland sprinter.

  13. I like Cosmo’s point about how this would have been so different if Cav wasn’t there and Ferrari had won.
    If Cav was just 1m faster, it would have been simple shoulder-bumping.

    Glad Phinney retained Pink, but if it were me, I would have sat-up before the final sprint and finished with the group. It’s time to think about Pinotti, the boy has had his time in the spotlight.

    • Pinotti for what? You aren’t actually saying BMC should give up on Phinney and focus their attention on Pinotti for the GC? No way in hell he finishes in the top 10.

      • @Not Pro: Pinotti has been BMC’s GC rider all along for the Giro, though Pinotti himself said he’d be happy with a Top 10 finish. Phinney is no lightweight climber for the high mountains — he’s 1.99 m tall and weighs 81.6 kg! (6′ 5.5″ tall, 180 lbs.)

        BMC plans to develop his skills to the max, but his genes tell a different story:

        Davis Phinney (dad): fast sprinter who won two flat stages in the TDF (’86, ’87); US Road Race Champion ’91, ’84 Olympic Games: Bronze medal, TTT 100km, ’88 Coor’s Classic

        Connie Carpenter-Phinney (mom): pro cyclist, speed skater and rowing team; 4 medals World Cycling Championships (road & track), Gold medal ’84 Olympics (road race), 12 US National Championships, ’76, ’77 and ’79 won the US National Road & Track Pursuit Championships,
        ’72 Olympics (Winter Games): Speed Skating: 7th in 1500 m at age 14 (youngest American Olympian ever in Winter Games), UC Berkeley Rowing Team: 1980 National Champion Varsity 4,
        and inducted into both the US Bicycling Hall of Fame and the US Olympic Hall of Fame.

        With those genes, he’s gonna win a lot of TT’s, road races and stage races where the roads don’t tilt too far towards the sky!

  14. Ferrari to win? Naah…second grade sprinters- stay where you belong! Head butting amongst top notch sprinters-loved to see that!

  15. Is anyone else absolutely AMAZED at the Varnese Vini rider bunny hopping Cav at 60kph?
    He came down so hard his bottles ejected. Was it Guardini on his wheel who hit Cav? That was a messy sprint.
    The thing I thought immediately afterwards was Ferrari would have been on the podium if he committed to the left line. If he jumped instead of switching he would have been shoulder to shoulder with the winner assuming he could hold the momentum. Unfortunate as he is starting to move up a level it appears but this will bump him down the pecking order for sure. I’m sure Cav will see to it.

    This indecent highlights once again the complexities and nuance of the sport which I think makes it so attractive to many fans. Ferrari should be relegated and the loss of those points towards the red jersey is a big deal for an Italian rider which I think is lost on the TDF crowd who seem to be tuning in to follow Sky and Cav(the outraged English speakers). Ejection from the race is a different penalty all together and unwarranted. The shame here is Ferrari’s one bad move will haunt him forever. He can ride a perfectly clean sprint everyday for the rest of his career and it won’t matter. He’ll always be that guy from the Giro. Punishment enough.
    I think that’s why some sprinters didn’t have much to say. They understand it could easily have been them to make a poor calculation at that velocity. It all happens in fractions of a second after a 100+ k of racing reacting to what is happening within centimeters trying to anticipate who is going where and when. Tall order. One bad day at the office and you may acquire the bad rep barring you from the sprint by your peers. It’s understandable how the modern leadout trains importance is minimizing the risk and amount of decisions the finisher has to make. With that in mind let’s not forget Ferrari is a solo act with no sprint support. He has to freelance and surf the wheels and make more accelerations than other sprinters. This small difference can put him over his limit into the red where making a bad decision more probable.
    Painting the whole Androni team as wildcard hack is unfair. If any sprinter other than Cav was taken out this would be only mildly interesting to most. When we get to the mountains TDF/Sky fans will understand why they are included assuming they don’t tune out. Hopefully they don’t and are introduced to Mr. Uran as the depth of the Sky team is very impressive beyond Cav and Wiggo.

    Once again top marks for the INRNG! Bravo!

    Goodbye road furniture hello Italia!

    • The bunny hop was a lovely bit of handling, although I don’t think it was Guardini who hit Cavendish – according to the Gazetta website he came in 10th. I agree with Cluffy regarding Ferrari, in a situation such as that, admitting his mistake and offering an apology would be the correct way to act.

      • wrote this about the bunny hop:

        Correction, it was Guardini’s teammate Elia Favilli who showed the bike handling skills.

      • Without a doubt. A simple apology and acknowledgement of poor decision making would go a very long way with his contemporaries. Humility demonstrates the ability to learn from mistakes.
        I hope on Wednesday he comes correct after a day of reflection.
        He needs a double sized apology though.

      • Sean Kelly stated as much concerning an apology in an interview on After a rough flight to Italy with 1/2 the peloton, I imagine Ferrari will figure out the “sprinters have apology as a last measure for the mistakes everyone makes during their career” move, and if he doesn’t he will deserve the wrath that will rain from within the peloton and define the rest of his career…

  16. Wow, sorry for the block of text.
    I had some more returns in there I thought.

    I need to pay more attention it seems. I’m a third tier multi-tasker. Don’t revoke my wildcard status.

    • A big block of text, but some good points! I agree that the attitude of the peloton will be punishment enough for Ferrari. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t he involved in the Theo Bos crash too? I recall a Rabo rider remonstrating with an Androni one, could that have been Ferrari. My point is that if he slips up again he’ll be either relegated or shunned completely. Dean Downing on twitter suggested he had an erratic style at an earlier race.

      Cav won Milan-San Remo when he was “trainless”, I don’t remember him being dangerous that day.

  17. I’m in the minority obviously but to me, what Ferrari did was not that bad. It happened to have a terrible outcome that’s all. It even seems likely he’s trying to go for Farrar’s wheel at the same time as Cav is trying to go for the Goss train. Of course since he stays upright they have to relegate him, but all the calls to send him home are over the top. I really didn’t like that Cavendish called for that – he’s one of the most dangerous sprinters when “trainless”.

    • But he doesn’t just alter his line, he jerks completely sideways. That’s dangerous and stupid. Given his unrepentant attitude afterwards (and note that his team boss is the one offering an apology, not the rider himself) it’s hard not to agree that he has got off very lightly.

      I have to wonder, if it had been another rider who he’d brought down, and not Cav, would anyone be prepared to step up and defend him?

      • He does ‘jerk’ over to a new line. That’s how you catch that wheel. He’s not doing it w/ 25m to go & he certainly can’t know someone’s coming up behind him. Not defending him. Just saying what he did is not as bad as the outcome would suggest. It’s a race incident in my opinion.

    • @Dean: I have to agree with Chuffy. After watching this sprint repeatedly in slow-mo, Ferrari makes a dangerous diagonal “bee-line,” appearing to be going after Farrar’s wheel, but he goes even further to the right than that (beyond Tyler). Looks like he deviated 2.5 – 3 meters off his original sprint line. Can’t do that, rules make that crystal clear.

      “Mark Cavendish has called on the Androni-Venezuela rider Roberto Ferrari to be ejected from the Giro d’Italia after the Italian caused him to crash heavily in the final 100m on Monday’s stage three…Is the team of Roberto Ferrari or the UCI going to do the right thing? Other riders, including myself, have been sent home for much less.”

      Geraint Thomas tweeted, “Kick Ferrari out Giro for crashing 10guys at 60kph!!!” –

      Ferrari should be sent home because he violated a rule so brazenly; and it won’t help his case that he has an ‘I don’t care’ attitude. As others have noted, his DS made an apology, not Ferrari. This type of erratic and dangerous riding needs to be nipped in the bud now, to send the right message.

    • Check his path again. He’s not going for Farrar’s wheel, he’s jumping from the left of Farrar to try and go round him on the right. He’s not swapping wheels, he goes straight past him. If he’d just tried to hop wheels Cav might have managed to squeeze past or swerve him.

      • Yes, Ferrari did go around Tyler — it just appeared, at first, that he might want to go for Tyler’s wheel, but that was quickly ruled out, as seen in the video.

        “…appearing to be going after Farrar’s wheel, but he goes even further to the right than that (beyond Tyler).” > that’s exactly what I meant, sorry for the confusion.

        • Sorry, think my original reply was meant for someone else! You’re crystal clear 🙂 Might even have been a debate somewhere else!

  18. I do intend to agree with Dean. If you study the video, Cav lost his train. The Sky boys are on the front looking left & right trying to find Cav. Then Cav gets boxed in as Green Edge go by. From the front on shots, with about 400 to go, Green Edge have gone by and you see Cav freewheeling at least twice. Then when Cav does go from about 12 places back, he comes up very fast on the right…. At the sort of speed he would have been doing if he had of been dropped off on the front with 150 to go. He made up a huge amount of ground. Whilst Ferrari’s move was abrupt, I bet he didn’t expect someone to be coming up his behind that fast. Basically, for the numbers Sky had on the front with 2km to go, they screwed this one up badly.

    • I may be biased (although I try not to be) but the GreenEDGE boys simply did the a superb lead-out train job, one that the Sky boys didn’t do, and that fact has been lost in all this chatter about the accident. It augers well for future battles between the UK and Australian teams.

      • ToTheBillyoh,
        You are absolutely correct. OGE did a fantastic job but they don’t have to carry the sprint like Sky is forced to(that may change as the wins rack up though). That allows them a bit more freedom to move about and get the timing down and not worry about poaching as much.
        Watching the replay so many times I’m starting to think Farrar has to change tactic and stop pinning it all on the Sky trains actions. I know they are all racing against Cav but Farrar has to endure how many Sky riders trying to put him in the wind with bumping and shoving. Lot of wasted energy.
        What other tactic can one employ though? Difficult problem for sure.

  19. Everything happens so fast. I still think Ferrari’s switch was excessive, you can change direction but this was wild and I suspect he’ll pay for this, first with a sanction and second with trouble from the bunch.

    Next, a small thought but he’s picked the worst day and the worst rider for this. To knock Cavendish means more trouble and on the eve of the rest day means even more attention until something new comes along.

    • What exactly does “trouble from the bunch” mean? What form does that take? Do people cut him off? Close the door on him? Harsh words? Drop their water bottles in front of him? That could be a topic for a whole blog post.

  20. Just reminded myself of the Tour de Suisse Cav incident, which from my mere opinion looks like sprinter moved in a diagonal at about 5 degrees (ish camera angles aren’t great). Shoulders rub and down he goes.

    Ferrari incident, 30 degrees across a charging bunch showing
    a) no awareness of the area around him
    b) crap handling skills for a pro.

    This is basically his one chance to shine and now he never will. It is not only the Sky Team that Ferrari have peed off but every other team whose riders went down from his recklessness.

    Also showing up on RAI and looking like you don’t give a flying fnck doesn’t help does it. I predict Snr Ferrari spending a lot of time being boxed out in the future.

    • @Symo: Agreed, no comparison to the TdS sprint where Cav and Haussler diverge — very small change in line on parts of both sprinters.

      Today, Ferrari looked like a drunk driver swerving across several lanes of “traffic.” Blinders on, as he said he only looked ahead and was not concerned with who was behind him. Reminded me of the big swerve French TV car took to avoid hitting a tree, instead taking out Flecha and Hoogerland.

      Note: French TV was ejected from the TDF after disobeying orders to pull over (rules broken);
      what’s the difference here? Rules blatantly broken, game over.

      If Ferrari stays, he’ll be the rider with the big target on his jersey, and we’ll have one pissed off Italian who already has a prima donna attitude. Bad combo.

  21. Anyone that thinks this wouldn’t have got a mention if Cav hadn’t gone down might do well to remember that a 21 year old Pink Jersey nearly broke his ankle. He was in a wheelchair at the airport and has a single rest day to see if he’ll be fit to ride the TTT on Wednesday.

  22. For what it’s worth, I think he was right to be penalized.

    It seems to me that either you have to be 100% sure there’s not a rider where you want to be, or failing that give a following rider time to adjust to your movement without the following rider putting themselves or other riders in danger.

    Ferrari did neither.

  23. Ferrari’s move was about as smooth as the Hunchback of Notre-Dame heading to the bar for cocktails at happy hour. It was a violent hungry grab for a Giro stage victory only a young dumb and etc Italian sprinter could author. I bet he is also the type to piss you off at a bar when you are waiting for a capuccio. He should be covered in deep heat and dragged @60 kph, naked over the final 200 meters behind the Sky team car.

    Seamus Kennedy RIP.

  24. I was under the impression that Renshaw was sent home from TdF for more than just headbutting Julian Dean. After the series of head butts, he deviated from his line to the left, pushing Farrar up against the barrier, and slowing him way down. In slow motion, you could actually see Renshaw turn his head to the left (with Farrar coming-up on that side), and then right at that point move in that direction to push Farrar up against the barrier. I thought it was the headbutting plus blocking Farrar that got Renshaw DQd. Was it just the headbutting by itself?

    • I believe you are correct. Renshaw did also intentionally push Farrar up against the rails with his line deviation. That + head butting = one-way ticket home.

  25. I wonder how many of the weekend warriors here have done similar stupid sprints (maybe without any consequences and crashes) not for a Grand Tour stage win but for place 50 or so in their race around the church.

    I think some people should take a deep breath and reflect.
    Yes, it was stupid, hot headed and completely without sense for the riders around him and he has to be punished. But these things happen in sprints (luckily not so often) when there is so little blood in the brain and so much testosterone in the veins.
    But all those forgetting or defending Cav in the 2010 Tour de Suisse, face it, that crash was deliberate, he wanted to cut off Haussler who was holding his line and didn’t break just because it was Cav who was coming. In this case Ferrari was just stupid.
    So please get your vantage point right.

    • I think you’re pretty much right about that. In the Tour de Suisse crash, Cav’s deviation was not as sharp, but it was about as dumb given that he had a much better chance of knowing Haussler was there if he had kept his head up (I mean his front wheel folded under Haussler’s…).

      And I really don’t think Ferrari should be tossed from the tour. That sort of punishment happens very, very rarely. The only good example I can think of for comparison is Renshaw, whose actions were much more deliberate (headbutt plus impeding others and neither by accident/sheer stupidity). Besides that…I don’t know, Bos in the Tour of Turkey (though that was on the final stage)? But that incident was much, much dumber on Bos’ part. Ferrari was dumb, but not malicious or intentional. This stuff really does happen all the time in sprints and usually nobody crashes…and when they do it’s usually not Cav or another high profile rider….so people don’t pay attention so much…

  26. a quick question – a couple of you mention repercussions from the bunch towards Ferrari. How does that work? Non-sprinters getting in his way?

    • Simon,
      In order to sprint one has to move to the front. While there is certainly a lot of pushing with elbows and shoulders in the run in there is just as much positioning going on to get riders to that point. During a sprint stage there is a pecking order and it’s understood who needs to be up front and who doesn’t. Some teams can just move up on status while smaller teams need to prove they should be there. They fight for position much longer. What Ferrari has done and compounded by not accepting responsibility is made that task far more difficult and any Androni rider as they will not be welcome moving to the front in a sprint finale due to his actions.
      Door closed.

    • Or, if you’re a relatively obscure rider on a small team that got invited to the Tour de France, but you happened to testify in court against the doctor giving “training advice” to the wearer of the yellow jersey, the said wearer of the yellow jersey will carry a childish grudge against you and personally chase down any breakaways that you happen to be in, regardless of whether they ever had any hope of making it to the finish line (google “simeoni 2004” for more details).

  27. A simple apology from Ferrari would have gone a long way toward making things better. As it stands, his comments seem to fuel the flames instead. Perhaps something is lost in the translation, but as I read it, he doesn’t see that he did anything wrong.

  28. Atrocious sprint by Ferrari. Notice how in one move he not only dives for Farrar’s wheel but then immediately proceeds to sprint around him on the right. It was the latter part of the move that caused the crash as otherwise Cav would probably have been able to fade right and at least stay upright. Loved the skills of not just the Farnese Vini bunny hop but also the FDJ rider who weaved around Cav’s head at point blank.

    • Sky just tweeted a pic of Cav out training with the rest of the team for the TTT this morning so he’s staying clearly…he’s a tough bugger…

  29. What I find remarkable is the restraint shown by Cavendish, in the heat of the moment many less in control of their emotions may have reacted with a physical response. 🙂

  30. Personally, I’m rather hoping to see Signor Ferrari in a ditch off the road over the next couple of days, with the peloton exercising a rather different version of omerta when it comes to anyone seeing how he ended up there

  31. Ferrari deserves a severe penalty for extremely reckless sprinting, but not to be sent home, because I really believe he was pretty sure no one was coming on the right.

  32. McEwen’s opinion on the whole incident:
    my take on Giro st3 crash. Incredibly reckless riding by Ferrari but unintentional. In footbal terms, yellow card him, 2nd offence, red card

    another idea, R.Ferrari should be (was) fined but it should go to the guys he took out & not to UCI. #notthatanyonereallyneedsthemoney

    After watching the footage, I tend to agree. He was reckless, and chose the worst of the options available to him. But he didn’t do it intentionally.
    And in my opinion, some of the comments (also here) are uncalled for. One doesn’t wish bad luck on a rider, no matter how badly he behaved. Ferrari will have a hard time at the rest of the Giro, and probably long after that. Riders in a ditch is not what cycling needs.

    • I understand that the peloton has a habit of showing what they think of a rider’s conduct, and whatever form that takes, I support. If that takes the form of blocking his sprint, fine, or the form of a nudge or an elbow, also fine.

      After all its the riders who are put through risk to their health, and to their careers, by recklessness like Ferrari’s. Not you and not me.

      • Blocking his sprint – definitely fine (when done with less recklessness than Ferrari of course). Nudge or elbow – also fine, happens all the time apparently. Especially with sprinters.

        I’m fairly sure though that not one single professional rider would intentionally plan to throw another rider off his bike. And if he were, quite frankly he should be kicked out of the race for that.

    • I agree that it was unintentional, but I think that’s beside the point. The point is that he recklessly left his original sprint line, a rule broken in such a hazardous manner. Any sprinter knows he cannot shift his line 2.5 or 3 meters, endangering the well-being (lives) of sprinters going 75km/hr. That’s just downright ignorant to break a cardinal rule like this.

      People can have the best of intentions and still behave recklessly — it’s that part of the brain that takes over and leaves all logic and reason behind, esp when adrenaline is pumping at its highest level.

      I also wish no physical harm comes to Ferrari other than maximum penalties allowable; but I do understand the mentality of the peloton, out of loyalty to the injured riders and the sport. If the UCI does not eject Ferrari from the Giro, it sends a strong message that this behavior will be tolerated; as Cav already said, “riders have been sent home for far less, including myself.”

      The peloton will now be united against him and his team (if he remains), and will make sure that they have no opportunities for success in the rest of the Giro and beyond. Had Ferrari had a sportsmanlike attitude and apologized like he should have, the bad feelings would be far less, but he chose to be self-centered and accepted no responsibility for his actions. He will learn a hard lesson from this experience.

  33. So, here’s a question- just what is Cavendish referring to in his statement to the effect that people have been thrown out of races for much less, including himself?

    There’s the Tour de Suisse incident….which I think was almost as bad as this (Cav’s deviation was less, but Haussler was right next to him, not even behind)…and Cav was not thrown out. Just the normal penalties- points, relegation, time, fine. Then you have Renshaw- so he didn’t hurt anyone really, but was so abjectly aggressive in the headbutting and seemed so intentional on impeding others after that that I can see why he was throw out. Beyond Renshaw, I am struggling to think of anyone else who has been thrown out of a stage race for erratic sprinting or a similar offense. I am sure there is someone, but lets not pretend like it’s common. In fact, seems to be very, very rare. In part, I think that’s because they don’t want to throw people out for things that are not intentional and are actually quite common (like erratic sprinting). That’s why Renshaw got kicked- he meant to impede and headbutting isn’t that common and looks bad.

    But here’s the thing- I don’t think Ferrari should be thrown out, but the penalty he was given still seems a bit light even though it was unintentional. Ok, he got relegated (means very little given his result), some time added on (means nothing) and a fine (too small to matter). Is it time that race organizers and the UCI started thinking a bit more about making stiffer penalties for these kinds of dangerous things? Maybe bigger fines for riders, fining the team, relegating for future stages… It seems like the race jury can’t do much besides give out fairly meaningless relegations and fines (symbolic, but not really a deterrent for sprinters) or throw someone out of the race (too harsh for all but the worst of the worst). Social pressure from the media, public and peloton seem to be the biggest punishments and motivators.

    At least the other sports I follow (American football and hockey) have MUCH bigger fines for dangerous hits and flagrant penalties. Actually, you don’t even need to get a penalty in the game- they still can review video and just fine you later. Granted, NFL players make a lot more than most all WorldTour cyclists, but the fines are still big. $5-7K is quite small; fines go into the tens of thousands even for individual incidents. Maybe not the best implemented system, but it probably has some effect.

  34. lots of debate……… i just want to say that the use of twitter seems to be giving certain riders the moral high ground…….. thats never gonna be a debate ………….pro cycling is tough at best and brutal at its worst…….. dust yourselves down…….stop moaning and get on with the race………cav to abandon btw !!!!

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