Andriy Grivko punches Marcel Kittel
Ukrainian disqualified from Dubai Tour
Kittel says he 'won't accept apology'
Cyclists are accustomed to fighting for position, but rarely do they fight each other during a high-profile race.
As the wind and sand swirled in the Dubai Tour so too did the red mist for Andriy Grivko, who left race leader Marcel Kittel bloodied, with the German accusing the Ukrainian of landing a punch on him during the third of five stages.
Germany’s Kittel, winner of the opening two stages and the defending champion, said on Twitter that Grivko’s actions were a “shame on our beautiful sport.”
‘Unsportsmanlike and unacceptable’
“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,” the Quick Step Floors rider added on his team’s website.
“I get that riding in the crosswinds is always tense, but it gives him no right to act like that. He could have hurt my eye.
“I won’t accept an apology. That has nothing to do with cycling.”
The 28-year-old German finished outside the top 10 in the 200 kilometer stage from Dubai to Al Aqah, citing that his mind was not 100% on the sprint finish following the incident.
Grivko has subsequently been disqualified from the Tour and his team, Astana, have apologized to Kittel and his team.
“Regardless of the causes of the incident, we must recognize that our rider acted inappropriately. It is unsportsmanlike and unacceptable,” sports director Alexandr Shefer said in a statement.
“Also, on behalf of the team, management will take further decisions on rider’s punishment.”
The Union Cycliste Internationale – cycling’s governing body – was not immediately available for comment as to whether Grivko would face official sanctions.