Luke Rowe and Tony Martin have both been kicked off the Tour de France after an altercation on stage 17.
Jumbo-Visma workhorse Martin was filmed swerving in front of the Welshman, almost causing Rowe to fall in the final of the run to Gap.
Rowe played down the moment after the stage, saying that tensions often fray deep into the three-week race.
But race commissaries announced at around 6.30pm after the stage that both riders would be sent home.
He said: “I don’t know how many Tours de France you’ve ridden but it does get a bit tense at times, but at the end of the day you’ve got to have broad shoulders and it’s no problem.
“We rode the last 10km of the stage talking to each other.
“We’re both doing the same job. It was nothing really. I rolled over the line with him, we shook hands.
“We just got in each other’s way. That’s bike racing.”
UCI commissaires reviewed the footage of the incident after the stage with Team Ineos boss Sir Dave Brailsford and sports director Nicolas Portal.
Both riders have been removed from the day’s results.
Brailsford told ITV after the decision: “They’ve decided to expel Tony and Luke from the race, which is incredibly harsh if I’m honest.
“I’ve watched the clip and there’s no doubt about it Tony cut up Luke a little bit, he’s fought for his position a little bit. It’s nothing worse than you see on most days of the race. A pretty harsh decision.”
An emotional Rowe added: “We were both trying to do a job. Maybe we both overstepped the mark slightly, but it feels harsh to be thrown off the race. Neither of us deserve that.”
The incident was witnessed by race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), who said he tried to defuse the situation.
Alaphilippe said: “There was a lot of tension in the peloton with everyone wanting to be well place. It was nervous. I think people were worried someone was going to attack.
“I just tried to calm the situation. There was no need to take risks.”
TV cameras captured the moment that Martin veered towards Rowe at the front of the bunch, forcing him to the right of the road.
Rowe’s front wheel skips as he moves out of the way towards the fans stood at the edge of the race.
There was no action in the general classification race back in the peloton, as Matteo Trentin rode away from a 30-rider breakaway to claim the stage honours.
Rowe and Martin crossed the line in the bunch 20 minutes behind the winner, with their respective team leaders, Geraint Thomas and Steven Kruijswijk also finishing safely.
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