Viviani goes crazy in San Luis.

Viviani in his preferred kit.

Viviani in his preferred kit.

According to news reports down in Argentina, top sprinter Elia Viviani, riding for the Italian National Team, went berserk when his supposed lead-out man Jakub Mareczko turned on him like a traitor.

Depending on what and who you believe, Mareczko did or did not have the right to ride his own race. In fact, Mareczko himself can’t seem to decide what exactly his role was.

In the immediate aftermath of the race, he insisted “I was working for Elia Viviani and that is why I was near the front.”

Then shortly thereafter, he contradicted himself, saying he was racing to win, period. “Without a doubt I would do it again straight away. The terms were clear: when they invited me to come here to San Luis, they told me that I would be able to play my cards,” he told the Tuttobici

What’s interesting is that it all seems so charmingly, outrageously, predictably Italian — the team role designations are really just suggestions. Italy is all about the passion for racing and organization and rules take a back seat to feelings and sensations. The Italian Worlds squad is renowned for its lax attitude towards who leads and who follows.

Vivian rides for Team Sky where every rider in the squad has a tightly defined role for each race. Imagine two Sky riders coming to the finish without a clear plan and set role and just, you know, freelancing it and racing against each other. Team boss David Brailsford would blow his top and a panel of Sky psychologists and behavioral specialists would be called in to reprogram the offending rider.

Perhaps that is partly the source of Viviani’s out-of-control anger. He forgot he was’t riding for Sky in Argentina but for his home country and the rules were out the window. Mareczko, who rides for Lampre-Merida, saw a big opportunity and skipped the lead-out in favor of the top step of the podium.

Viviani rode straight to the hotel and didn’t bother with the podium celebrations. “I wasn’t myself, I wasn’t expecting it and I was enraged and out of control. The decision I made was the wrong one, but I did it because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to control myself, ” said Viviani.

If he could have ridden straight to Mallorca for his first race of the year with Sky, he probably would have.

 

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