Cyclists disqualified after mid-race punch-up

Two cyclists were disqualified from the Vuelta a Espana cycling race - after repeatedly punching and shoving each other in the middle of a stage.

Two cyclists were disqualified from the Vuelta a Espana cycling race - after repeatedly punching and shoving each other in the middle of a stage.

There has been speculation but no confirmation of what caused the spat between Italian Gianluca Brambilla and Russian Ivan Rovny, with some reports they were disputing which of them was supposed to be acting as pace setter.

Whatever the cause, their exchange of words on Monday’s stage soon degenerated into an unseemly row.

Irish cyclist Dan Martin was unimpressed with the incident in his column in today’s Irish Times.

“I think it is pretty poor for the image of cycling, and therefore it was correct that they both got thrown out of the Vuelta.”

“Instead of the headlines being about the amazing race that went on at the front on Monday, they were about the fight,” continued Martin, who is currently sixth overall in the race. “It has put cycling into the limelight in a bad way again.”

In his column in yesterday’s Irish Independent another Irish cyclist, Philip Deignan, said he had also been on the receiving end of a mid-race punch during the race, his from Spaniard Joaquim Rodríguez.

“As we continued riding, suddenly, out of the blue, Rodriguez turned towards me and punched me full in the face, splitting my lip and leaving me both stunned and fuming,” described Deignan.

Deignan didn't respond to the strike and said he later received an apology from the other cyclist.

However Rodriguez has since said he felt Deignan was making too much of the incident, which led to another cyclist Peter Kennaugh getting involved.

Kennaugh said of Rodriguez on Twitter: "What a lying p***k, take responsibly for your actions coward!"

It seems it’s not only falls and accidents cyclists have to watch out for on the tour.

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