By Jonny Long
The UCI are said to be looking into why Miguel Ángel López wasn't sanctioned for his altercation with a fan on stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia 2019, and could levy sanctions against the rider.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, the UCI have opened a case on the incident and will ask the race jury of the Giro d'Italia why López escaped without punishment.
This is because López broke a UCI rule (22.2) that states any act of violence towards any person other than a rider during a race results in elimination and a 200 Swiss Franc (CHF) fine.
Therefore, the UCI want to find out why this procedure was not followed as it could set a precedent, with riders in similar incidents able to point to the López case and how the Colombian rider avoided punishment.
The same UCI rules states an act of violence towards another rider results in a 200 CHF fine and a one minute penalty, with elimination from the race only considered for "particularly serious assault."
The race jury at the time decided not to sanction López as they saw his actions as a "human reaction" but the UCI have now said they wish to levy the full set of ascribed punishments against the Astana rider.
On stage 20, a fan had been running alongside a group of riders, before having to step out in front of them to avoid another spectator standing in the road in front of the spectators lining the roadside.
Television footage showed López pick his bike up off the floor after crashing and then striking the fan a number of times, knocking his cap off with the final blow.
After the race, his team boss, Giuseppe Martinelli, said he was "only sorry that López didn’t give the spectator some more punishment, he deserved it," before adding that if the Colombian had been sanctioned it would have been "the end of cycling as we know it".
López apologised for his actions, but also made a point of saying that riders deserve more respect from spectators.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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