Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team have been involved in a high-speed collision with a spectator during the opening day’s team time-trial while Mitchelton-Scott almost suffer the same fate.
Bora riders Oscar Gatto and Rafal Majka collided with the pedestrian, who was crossing the course at the time, just 3km into the team’s effort.
A combination of the speed of the riders, the lack of manoeuvrability of time-trial bikes and the wet conditions made the crash unavoidable despite the lead rider at the time trying to warn his teammates.
Both riders and the pedestrian hit the floor hard, and the remaining five Bora-Hansgrohe riders were lucky to avoid the crash.
Gatto and Majka managed to finish the stage although behind the rest of the team who finished the 21.5km course in a time of 24:22, almost two minutes slower than the fastest teams on the day.
Television cameras show that the race official placed at the crossing point where the collision happened had his back to the race at the time, talking to another pedestrian. RAI Sports in Italy have reported that the pedestrian is conscious and breathing.
History almost repeated itself as Mitchelton-Scott almost hit a second spectator later in the day.
Rounding a 90-degree bend, the team were lucky to avoid a woman who was crossing the road while walking her dog. Fortunately, this spectator saw and was able to move just in time.
It also did little to affect the Australian team who went on to win the stage by seven seconds from Team Jumbo Visma.
The crash took place on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea on the Lido Di Camaiore, the usual destination for the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and also the scene of previous time-trial drama.
In 2017’s opening day individual time-trial, it was Sagan, again, who found himself avoiding a rogue pedestrian on course.
That time it was an elderly lady who was crossing the road with a dog.
Luckily, Sagan was able to avoid hitting the woman by swerving off the road, up a raised curb and on to a parallel bike path. The then-World Champion then continued with his race, though not before looking back over his shoulder in understandable disbelief.