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MONTECATINI TERME, Italy (VN) — Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) silenced critics today in the Giro d’Italia’s 11th leg. Just over a week after he crashed Mark Cavendish (Sky), he burst free of his rivals to win a sprint.
“I wanted to win a stage to show to everyone that day was an off day, that I had the legs and that I have what it takes to win a stage,” Ferrari said in a post-race press conference. “I’m sorry for all that happened and what I said right after the stage. Sometimes, when something just happens, it’s hard to think clearly.”
Ferrari shot between Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) and Cavendish in the final 250 meters of stage 3 in Horsens, Denmark. He clipped Cavendish’s front wheel and caused a wave a crashes that likely ultimately cost Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) his overall lead. Immediately afterwards, he put the blame on Cavendish.
Critics argued that the race jury should eject him from the Giro d’Italia, but Ferrari was allowed to continue, albeit with a relegation to last on the stage. Today in Tuscany, nearly 2000 kilometers away from Denmark, he made headlines for all the right reasons.
Cavendish lost ground after teammate Geraint Thomas’ pedal touched the pavement through a right-hand corner in the final 350 meters. Ferrari was able to maintain his momentum and carry on, catching Tomas Vaitkus (Orica-GreenEdge) and holding off Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Francesco Chicci for the win. Cavendish settled for fourth.
“I talked with a lot of other sprinters, they didn’t say I was in the right, but they said that these things happen. They told me to go ahead, sprint as I know how to do,” Ferrari continued.
“I’m thankful for the jury to allow me to race. It was my fault, but I didn’t do it on purpose.”
Italy’s RAI television invited Cavendish to speak on its Processo della Tappa show after the stage. He complimented Ferrari’s sprint, but said that he was lucky to have the chance.
“He’s lucky to stay in the race,” explained Cavendish. “It’s not his fault he’s still in the race, he doesn’t make the decisions.”
Ferrari said that he’s thankful to the jury for the simple relegation and for the right to continue racing. He built his season around the Giro d’Italia, the biggest race of the year for his second division team.
The stage marks the 29-year-old’s biggest win to date, joining a win in the GP Lugano on his palmarès. To earn a place in bigger races outside of Italy, such as the Tour de France or the classics, he would almost certainly need to switch teams, perhaps joining the first division. Ferrari said he would consider opportunities in the future, but is satisfied with Gianni Savio’s Pro Continental squad.
“I have a good relationship with Gianni Savio, he allows me to win in Italy and doesn’t put on pressure,” said Ferrari. “Who knows, though, in the future maybe I’ll have a chance, but I’d need to evaluate the offer.”
Savio told VeloNews that Ferrari’s contract ends with the close of this season.
“Like everything, there’s pro and cons to switching teams,” Savio said. “He has a good contact with our team, but yes, with this win, his value increases.”
After it bottomed out last Monday in Horsens, Ferrari’s stock is back on the rise.