Two cyclists have been thrown off the Tour de France after an on-bike tussle during the race’s 17th stage.
- Tony Martin appeared to shoulder barge Luke Rowe, before Rowe placed his hand on Martin’s neck
- The 17th stage was won by Matteo Trentin of Australian team Mitchelton-Scott
- The riders now race three tough days in the Alps before heading to Paris
Briton Luke Rowe and Germany’s Tony Martin clashed near the top of the last climb of the day as they appeared to fight for position.
Martin appeared to shoulder barge Rowe, who responded by putting his hand on the German’s neck.
Martin is a teammate of Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk, who is third overall and 12 seconds adrift of second-placed Geraint Thomas — a teammate of Lowe’s.
Both riders were disqualified by race stewards and will play no further part in the Tour.
Martin’s Lotto Jumbo-Visma team said it would dispute the decision, while Lowe’s Ineos formation said it was “currently looking into an appeal”.
“To come here with this team, a bunch of good mates, I feel like I’ve let them down and of course let myself down,” Rowe said.
“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, both of us.”
Team Ineos manager Dave Brailsford said: “It’s nothing more than you see most days of the race. It’s a pretty harsh decision.
“I think a yellow card would have been merited but a red card, for both riders in fact, feels a bit severe to me.”
Last year, Ineos — then Team Sky — had rider Gianni Moscon expelled from the Tour for taking a swing at French rider Elie Gesbert.
Fourth stage win for Mitchelton-Scott team
While tempers flared further back in the peloton, European champion Matteo Trentin won the 17th stage in a fourth victory for Australian team Mitchelton-Scott, on a hilly 200km ride from Pont du Gard to Gap.
Matteo Trentin secured a fourth stage win for Australian team Mitchelton-Scott. (AP: Christophe Ena)
Italian Trentin jumped away from a reduced group of breakaway riders at the foot of the last climb and powered clear in the descent to claim his third stage victory on the Tour after previous wins in 2013 and 2014 .
It was another good day for the Mitchelton-Scott team, following Simon Yates’s two stage wins and Daryl Impey’s victory on stage nine, which goes some way to make up for Adam Yates’s failure to contest for the overall victory.
The Briton stunningly dropped out of contention in the first high mountain stage, but the Australian outfit has since bounced back with individual wins.
“Today was definitely my last possibility before three days that are extremely demanding,” Trentin said.
“My mentality helped me win even more than my legs. I would have never imagined to win solo.”
On another searing hot day in southern France, the top contenders stayed quiet, finishing in the peloton, just over 20 minutes off the pace behind Trentin, as France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
He leads defending champion Thomas by 1:35 in the general classification.
The race now heads into the Alps for three days before the weekend’s finale in Paris, with Thursday’s Stage 18 featuring three climbs above 2,000 metres.