You’re in the break… what’s the worst that can happen?

Giro d’Italia: Stage 3 – Tortoli to Cagliari (148km)

Being pulled out of a breakaway against your will is not the worst thing that can happen to a bike rider in a stage race. As Anton Vorobyev proved a few weeks ago, the worst thing is actually being hauled back to help pace a teammate forward to replace you (only in vary rare circumstances is a tantrum on live television understandable – this is one of them). But it still ranks up there as awkward.

But at least the news was delivered to Vorobyev in person. Kristian Sbaragli received these orders today over the radio: they regretted to inform him that his position in this break was no longer available, and they were calling him in.

By the looks of things Sbaragli didn’t mind his new instructions, but it did mean he’d have to explain things to the other riders in the break.

You can only imagine what Sbaragli was saying, perhaps passing on the blame to those “pen-pushing bastards upstairs”, or trying the old it’s not you, it’s me. But it seemed to come with his best wishes, and he spoke to each rider in turn, most likely reassuring them that no, it had been a good idea and that yes, they still had a chance. They smiled back, not stupid enough to dismiss the idea that Sbaragli would soon be part of the chase intent on ruining their day.

Sbaragli peels off to wait for the peloton

There was something quite charming and civilized about it, even if there was a degree of “meh” from all sides. Better this way than simply ramming on the breaks, or sitting on at the back without taking a turn.

With the farewells done Sbaragli peeled off, while the others rode on without him. It was job done, sort of, even though it meant the job he’d started would go unfinished, and his new job would involve catching up again, albeit with t he peloton still two minutes back down the road

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