Tour de France officials came down hard on a pair of cyclists who exchanged some light shoves on Wednesday, and neither side appears to be happy about it.
Luke Rowe and Tony Martin were disqualified from the race after appearing to shove each other near the finish of the race’s Stage 17 to Gap in the Col de la Sentinelle, according to the Associated Press.
Martin seemed to initiate by shoving Rowe near the edge of the road and Rowe responded by chasing him down and grabbing him by the neck once the two had joined a pack of other cyclists.
Though cycling officials weren’t amused by the exchange, it’s apparently water under the bridge already for the cyclists.
Rowe said they cycled the end of the race together and shook hands afterward, then the two gave a joint interview to discuss the incident and their appeal.
“It’s out there for everyone to see. They can make of it what they want to make of it,” Rowe said. “I think I can hold my hand up and say I made a mistake. It’s something I’ve got to live with now. It’s heat of the moment. It was hot out there. We were fighting for position.”
Rowe’s team manager Dave Brailsford reportedly called the disqualification “incredibly harsh” and the jostling “nothing more than you see most days of the race.”
Rowe and Martin being kicked out of the Tour de France carries significant implications for the rest of the race, because they aren’t the only two cyclists hurt by the decision.
Rowe is a teammate of defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, who is currently in second in the overall standings. Martin rides with Steven Kruijswijk, who is currently third. Both cyclists could miss their teammates in the upcoming Alpine stages of the race.
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