Astana rider says that incident was triggered by Kittel's dangerous riding
In a lengthy post on his Facebook page, the Ukrainian admitted that he had acted in an “unsportsmanlike” manner, but also claimed that he was responding to dangerous riding by Kittel, and that the German spat at him after the incident.
“I have been cycling since I was 12 years old and like everyone I understand that it [fighting for wheels] is normal when the sprinters are fighting for position with 3 km to the finish line. But,when it happens with 100 km to go in such a rough style and under such a tough weather conditions, it brings a very big danger to the riders,” Grivko wrote.
“In the fighting for position, and as it was confirmed by Kittel himself, he shouldered firstly my team-mate Dmitriy Gruzdev and then me, creating a very tense and dangerous situation that could cause a big crash in the peloton.
“I responded with aggressive action to aggressive action from him. Perhaps, I got emotional and it has nothing to do with cycling, but in extreme situations, when there is a question of safety, it is difficult to stay calm.”
Grivko went on to say that Kittel’s riding showed a lack of respect for the other members of the peloton, endangering those around him due to his own “selfishness”.
“In the peloton we are all equal and have equal rights, it doesn’t matter if you are a famous sprinter or neo-pro. We should respect each other equally.”
The Astana rider also alleged that after hitting Kittel, the German “repeatedly spat” in his direction.
Grivko’s statement concluded with an apology to many of those involved in the race, but notably not to Kittel.
“Once again I apologize to the race organizers, to all the fans, and of course, to my team for this unpleasant incident, which led to my exclusion from the race.”