Ukrainian cyclist Andriy Grivko has been disqualified from the Dubai Tour race after punching race leader Marcel Kittel from Quick-Step in the face during the third stage on Thursday.
As reported by the Daily Mirror's Aaron Flanagan, the race leader told reporters the Astana man hit him in the head during the stage. He was seen arguing with race officials for the remainder of the ride, and he took to Twitter afterward:
He showed his funny side as well:
Grivko was disqualified as a result, while Kittel held on to his leader's jersey. John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo won Stage 3.
According to Australian sprint legend Robbie McEwen, this isn't the first time Grivko has lashed out at an opponent:
Grivko took to Facebook to address the incident and claimed Kittel provoked the strike and spat at him afterward:
Kittel is one of the peloton's best raw sprinters, but unlike many of his main rivals―and McEwen during his racing days―he's not known for his aggressive racing style and physical battles to improve his position.
As reported by Matt de Neef of Cycling Tips, he even spoke out against cycling legend Mark Cavendish during last year's Tour de France for a relatively minor swerve. Here's a look at that move:
Races in Dubai are often accompanied by strong crosswinds, and these tend to lead to heavy fighting for position.
Per Cycling Weekly's Sophie Hurcom, Kittel has asked the Union Cycliste Internationale to give Grivko the maximum punishment of a six-month ban. The UCI could also ban Grivko for specific races―such as leaving him out of the world championships, which take place in September―and punish Astana and the Ukrainian federation.