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Italian rider Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) was relegated to fourth place in Thursday’s stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia after veering wildly in front of breakaway companion George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) in the final push to the line.
Brambilla and Bennett were part of a four-man breakaway alongside stage winner Andrea Vendrame (Ag2R-Citröen) and Chris Hamilton (Team DSM) that survived the stage’s onslaught of mountains and then chugged into the finale together. Inside the final 2km to go Vendrame and Hamilton attacked, leaving Brambilla and Bennett to engage in a staring game to see which one would chase. By the time the duo gave chase the victory had escaped up the road.
As the two came into the final together, Brambilla took the lead and then veered all the way across the road to his left, forcing Bennett to deviate his line as well. Bennett gestured at the Italian just before crossing the line.
Brambilla crossed the line in third, but officials relegated him to fourth in the sprint, one spot behind Bennett.
According to various reports, Brambilla pointed the finger at Bennett after crossing the line.
“I have nothing to say. Ask George Bennett how to do the race. That’s it. Sometimes is better even watching some racing on TV, so you can learn how to do it,” he said.
After the stage, Bennett said he was simply gambling for the stage win.
“Today was an opportunity to go for the stage win, but in the final, I had to gamble,” Bennett said. “You have to be willing to lose if you want to win. I can’t react on every attack either, because then I would still finish in third or fourth place. Competing for stage wins in breakaways is something I don’t do often. So maybe it takes a while before I get to understand the cat-and-mouse play. I think the high mountain stages that are yet to come offer more opportunities. In these stages, it’s more about the legs and someone’s fitness than the cat and mouse game we played today. After last week’s disappointments, I haven’t lost my confidence. I’m going to try to make the most of it to try and win a stage.”