Just 191 riders will start stage five of the Giro d'Italia after Javier Moreno became the latest casualty late on Tuesday night after the Spaniard was disqualified for what the Italian, the International Cycling Union (UCI) described as an "act of violence" towards another rider.
Moreno was spotted during the fourth stage to Mount Etna tugging on the jersey of Diego Rosa of Team Sky, an act that cost the Bahrain-Merida rider not only 200 Swiss Francs but also his place in the opening grand tour of the season.
In a statement issued by his team, Moreno said he respected the decision and offered an apology to Team Sky.
“My team-mates and me were all in the line coming to the final climb, Team Sky came up on the left and Rosa wanted to get onto my team-mates wheel in front of me," Moreno said.
"When he realised I was resisting, he aggravated me to which I reacted by pushing him, unfortunately causing him to crash. I want to apologise for my reaction and make it clear that it was not my intention for him to crash. I apologise to him and Team Sky, as well as to my team-mates and sponsors.”
Moreno's disqualification came after three riders – Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), Alexandre Geniez (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha-Alpecin) – were forced to pull out through injury during the first summit stage at the 100th edition of la corsa rosa.
Tuesday's withdrawals were the first of the race, though two riders from the Italian team Bardiani-CSF were kicked out on the eve of their nation's biggest race after testing positive in an out-of-competition doping test.
The UCI, the sport's governing body, said on Thursday that Nicola Ruffoni and Stefano Pirazzi returned positive tests for growth hormone-releasing peptides in samples collected last week.
"The UCI announces that it has notified Italian riders Nicola Ruffoni and Stefano Pirazzi of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) in samples collected in the scope of out-of-competition controls on April 25 and 26, 2017 respectively," read a UCI statement.
"In accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the riders have been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the respective affair. The UCI will refer the matter to the Disciplinary Commission which will render a decision against the team in due course."
The riders have the right to have their B samples tested but have been provisionally suspended from competition. That means neither will be at the Giro's start line Friday on the island of Sardinia.
The suspensions of Ruffoni and Pirazzi meant that 195 riders started the race. As with all WorldTour races, each of the 18 teams that make up the top-flight of professional cycling receive an invite and in the case with the Giro all are contracted to race.
In addition to the WorldTour teams, race organisers RCS Sport handed wildcard spots to Bardiani-CSF, Gazprom-Rusvelo, CCC Sprandi, Wilier-Selle Italia. Of the 22 teams starting the 100th edition of the Giro just two – Bardiani-CSF and Wilier-Selle Italia – are Italian.
Each team will start with nine riders, other than Astana who will honour Michele Scarponi, the Italian cyclist who was killed earlier this month while out on a training ride, by leaving his race number free and race with just eight riders and, of course, Bardiani-CSF who will start with just seven.
“What has happened to Michele was a real tragedy,” general manager Alexandre Vinokourov said earlier this week. “It is a huge blow for the whole team. Michele should have been our leader for the Giro and for this reason we decided not to replace Michele in the line-up, leaving his race number free.
“I think this is the right decision and I am sure the organisers of the Giro d’Italia as well as the whole cycling community will accept and understand it.”
Though the final starting line-up has yet to be confirmed, you can find below the provisional selections of riders that will contest the opening grand tour of the season, the 3,572.2 kilometres – or 2,220 miles in old money – race from Sardinia where the race gets under way on May 5 to Milan where in concludes just over three weeks later on May 28.
What does the final start list look like?
Ag2r-La Mondiale (Fra)
General manager: Vincent Lavenu
Title sponsor: Personal insurance
Eight-man team: Julien Bérard (Fra), François Bidard (Fra), Clément Cevrier (Fra), Hubert Dupont (Fra), Ben Gastauer (Lux), Quentin Jaurégui (Fra), Matteo Montaguti (Ita), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita).
Abandoned: Alexandre Geniez (Fra).
General manager: Alexandre Vinokourov
Title sponsor: Kazakh business consortium
Bike: Argon 18
Eight-man team: Pello Bilbao (Spa), Zhandos Bizigitov (Kaz), Dario Cataldo (Ita), Jesper Hansen (Den), Tanel Kangert (Est), Luis León Sánchez (Spa), Paolo Tiralongo (Ita), Andrey Zeits (Kaz).
General manager: Brent Copeland
Title sponsor: Kingdom of Bahrain and Taiwanese bike manufacturer
Eight-man team: Valerio Agnoli (Ita), Manuele Boaro (Ita), Enrico Gasparotto (Ita), Vincenzo Nibali (Ita), Franco Pellizotti (Ita), Luka Pibernik (Slo), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr), Giovanni Visconti (Ita).
Disqualified: Javier Moreno (Spa).
BMC Racing (US)
General manager: Jim Ochowicz
Title sponsor: Swiss bicycle manufacturer
Eight-man team: Silvan Dillier (Swi), Ben Hermans (Bel), Manuel Quinziato (Ita), Joey Rosskopf (US), Manuel Senni (Ita), Dylan Teuns (Bel), Tejay van Garderen (US), Francisco Ventoso (Spa).
Abandoned: Rohan Dennis (Aus).
General manager: Ralph Denk
Title sponsor: German manufacturers specialising in cooking surfaces and bathroom products
Nine-man team: Jan Barta (Cze), Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Sam Bennett (Irl), Patrick Konrad (Aut), Jose Mendes (Por), Gregor Mühlberger (Aut, neo-pro), Matteo Pelucchi (Ita), Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut, neo-pro), Rudiger Selig (Ger).
General manager: Jonathan Vaughters
Title sponsor: US bicycle manufacturer and Australian-American management firm
Nine-man team: Hugh Carthy (GB), Joe Dombrowski (US), Davide Formolo (Ita), Alex Howes (US), Kristijan Koren (Slo), Pierre Rolland (Fra), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Hol), Davide Villella (Ita), Michael Woods (Can).
Dimension Data (SA)
General manager: Doug Ryder
Title sponsor: Information technology company
Nine-man team: Igor Antón (Spa), Natnael Berhane (Eri), Omar Fraile (Spa), Ryan Gibbons (SA), Nathan Haas (Aus), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (SA), Kristian Sbaragli (Ita), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri), Johann van Zyl (SA).
General manager: Marc Madiot
Title sponsor: French national lottery
Nine-man team: William Bonnet (Fra), Mattieu Ladagnous (Fra), Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe), Rudy Molard (Fra), Steve Morabito (Swi), Thibaut Pinot (Fra), Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi), Jérémy Roy (Fra), Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra).
General manager: Jose Azevedo
Title sponsors: Russian business conglomerate and German shampoo manufacturer
Eight-man team: Maxim Belkov (Rus), Jose Goncalves (Por), Robert Kiserlovski (Cro), Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus), Alberto Losada (Spa), Matvey Mamykin (Rus, neo-pro), Ángel Vicioso (Spa), Ilnur Zakarin (Rus).
Abandoned: Pavel Kochetkov (Rus).
General manager: Marc Sergeant
Title sponsor: Belgian national lottery and adhesives manufacturer
Nine-man team: Lars Bak (Den), Sean De Bie (Bel), Jasper De Buyst (Bel), Bart De Clercq (Bel), André Greipel (Ger), Adam Hansen (Aus), Moreno Hofland (Hol), Tomasz Marczynski (Pol), Maxime Monfort (Bel).
Lotto NL-Jumbo (Hol)
General manager: Richard Plugge
Title sponsors: Dutch national lottery and supermarket chain
Nine-man team: Enrico Battaglin (Ita), Victor Campenaerts (Bel), Twan Castelijns (Hol), Stef Clement (Hol), Martijn Keizer (Hol), Steven Kruijswijk (Hol), Bram Tankink (Hol), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel), Jos van Emden (Hol).
General manager: Eusebio Unzué
Title sponsor: Spanish mobile telephone company
Nine-man team: Andrey Amador (Crc), Winner Anacona (Col), Daniele Bennati (Ita), Víctor de la Parte (Spa), José Herrada (Spa), Gorka Izagirre (Spa), Nairo Quintana (Col), José Joaquín Rojas (Spa), Rory Sutherland (Aus).
General manager: Shayne Bannan
Title sponsors: Mining services and Swiss bike manufacturer
Nine-man team: Alex Edmondson (Aus, neo-pro), Caleb Ewan (Aus), Michael Hepburn (Aus), Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den), Luka Mezgec (Slo), Rubén Plaza (Spa), Svein Tuft (Can), Carlos Verona (Spa), Adam Yates (GB).
Quick-Step Floors (Bel)
General manager: Patrick Lefévère
Title sponsor: Laminate flooring manufacturers
Nine-man team: Eros Capecchi (Ita), Laurens De Plus (Bel, neo-pro), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Fernando Gaviria (Col), Bob Jungels (Lux), Iljo Keisse (Bel), Davide Martinelli (Ita), Maximiliano Richeze (Arg), Pieter Serry (Bel).
Team Sky (GB)
General manager: Sir Dave Brailsford
Title sponsor: Satellite broadcaster
Nine-man team: Philip Deignan (Irl), Kenny Elissonde (Fra), Michal Golas (Pol), Sebastian Henao (Col), Vasil Kiryienka (Blr), Mikel Landa (Spa), Salvatore Puccio (Ita), Diego Rosa (Ita), Geraint Thomas (GB).
General manager: Luca Guercilena
Title sponsors: US bicycle manufacturer and Italian coffee brand
Nine-man team: Eugenio Alafaci (Ita), Julien Bernard (Fra, neo-pro), Laurent Didier (Lux), Jesús Hernández (Spa), Bauke Mollema (Hol), Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita), Mads Pedersen (Den), Peter Stetina (US), Jasper Stuyven (Bel).
General manager: Iwan Spekenbrink
Title sponsor: Dutch tour operator
Nine-man team: Phil Bauhaus (Ger), Tom Dumoulin (Hol), Simon Geschke (Ger), Chad Haga (US), Wilco Kelderman (Hol), Georg Preidler (Aut), Laurens ten Dam (Hol), Sindre Skjoestad (Nor), Tom Stamsnijder (Hol).
UAE Team Emirates (UAE)
General manager: Giuseppe Saronni
Title sponsor: Emirates
Nine-man team: Valerio Conti (Ita), Rui Costa (Por), Roberto Ferrari (Ita), Marco Marcato (Ita), Sacha Modolo (Ita), Matej Mohoric (Slo), Simone Petilli (Ita, neo-pro), Jan Polanc (Slo), Edward Ravasi (Ita, neo-pro).
General manager: Roberto Reverberi
Title sponsor: Producers of industrial valves and centrifugal pumps
Seven-man team: Vincenzo Albanese (Ita), Simone Andreetta (Ita), Enrico Barbin (Ita), Nicola Boem (Ita), Giulio Cicconi (Ita), Mirco Maestri (Ita), Lorenzo Rota (Ita).
Suspended for doping violation: Stefano Pirazzi (Ita), Nicola Ruffoni (Ita).
General manager: Renat Khamidulin
Title sponsor: Gas company
Nine-man team: Pavel Brutt (Rus), Serguei Firsanov (Rus), Alexander Foliforov (Rus), Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus), Sergey Lagutin (Rus), Ivan Rovny (Rus), Ivan Savitsky (Rus), Evgeny Shalunov (Rus), Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus).
CCC Sprandi (Pol)
General manager: Marek Lesniewski
Title sponsor: Shoes and bags manufacturer
Nine-man team: Marcin Bialoblocki (Po), Felix Grosschartner (Aut), Jan Hirt (Cze), Lukasz Owsian (Pol), Maciej Paterski (Pol), Simone Ponzi (Ita), Branislau Samoilau (Blr), Michal Schlegel (Cze), Jan Tratnik (Cze).
Wilier-Selle Italia (Ita)
General manager: Angelo Citracca
Title sponsor: Italian bike producer and saddle manufacturer
Bike: Wilier Triestina
Nine-man team: Julen Amezqueta (Spa), Matteo Busato (Ita), Giuseppe Fonzi (Ita), Ilia Koshevoy (Blr), Jakub Mareczko (Ita), Daniel Martínez (Col), Cristian Rodríguez Martin (Spa), Filippo Pozzato (Ita), Eugert Zhupa (Alb).