German rider Marcel Kittel sports a cut above his eye after the third stage of the Dubai Tour
German rider Marcel Kittel sports a cut above his eye after the third stage of the Dubai Tour MATTEO BAZZI

Race leader punched in angry confrontation

CYCLING: Fiery Ukrainian rider Andriy Grivko has been sent packing from the Dubai Tour after punching race leader Marcel Kittel in the face during stage three.

The German star, a nine-time Tour de France stage-winner, had blood streaming from his face following the incident. Grivko was disqualified by stewards once the stage had ended.

Kittel refused to accept an apology from Grivko, posting on Twitter "That has nothing to do with cycling. What Grivko did is a shame for our beautiful sport.”

Kittel finished stage three outside the top 10 and claimed the result was down to Grivko's punch.

Andriy Grivko (left) will take no further part in the Dubai Tour.
Andriy Grivko (left) will take no further part in the Dubai Tour. NICOLAS BOUVY

"When we passed a construction site, the sand began blowing and as soon as we went into the crosswinds we were fighting for position, which is always stressful, and Andriy Grivko punched me,” he told The Sun.

"I really can't understand how he can do something like that. I get that riding in the crosswinds is always tense, but it gives him no right to act like that.

"I spoke to him in the race after that but I shouldn't say what I said to him in an interview here. He should be disqualified and get a ban for the next six months maybe.

"He could have hurt my eye. It's a real shame what happened. In the finale, my mind wasn't 100 per cent on the sprint, but I am happy I have no big injuries and I kept the lead.”


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