Van Poppel was sat in fourth wheel just behind race leader Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) coming into the finish in Champagne when he slid out. As the riders hit full speed to prepare for the sprint, they had to navigate a tight right-hand bend within the final 200 metres.
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Van Poppel braked hard to avoid hitting Sagan, and slid out to the left, hitting the barriers. Remarkably, he managed to stay upright. According to Thomas – who is leading Team Sky at the Tour de Suisse – Van Poppel was subsequently relegated by race commissaires, although his 26th position still appeared to be in place in the official results contradicting Thomas’s claim.
“So @UCI-cycling judges relegated Danny for dangerous riding… What do you expect with a corner like that less than 150m to go,” wrote Thomas on Twitter.
Irishman Matt Brammeier (Dimension Data) branded the position of corner and subsequent relegation of Van Poppel as ‘not acceptable’.
Fabian Cancellara branded the final corner ‘ridiculous’, saying “How ridiculous was this sprint today in @tds. I guess something is wrong with the rules #UCI lucky nobody crash into the hospital [sic]”.
Sky’s Wout Poels said “I hope this is a joke. In Dauphiné was head butt allowed?” referring to an incident in the Critérium du Dauphiné when Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) and Michael Morkov (Katusha) engaged in a tussle on stage one.
Trek-Segafredo rider Gregory Rast echoed Brammeier’s calls for race organisers to include a smoother run-in to the finish on sprint stages, saying “The UCI should make better sure we don’t need to do a final like this! #ridiculous”.
On Wednesday morning, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) sent a tweet out for riders at the Tour de Suisse to say that the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) had sent out a message to riders asking them to vote on whether the finish should have included the final corner. According to the CPA’s following tweet, 91 per cent thought it shouldn’t.
Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx-QuickStep) won the stage with Sagan placing third to retain the overall race lead. The Tour de Suisse continues on Wednesday with the race’s first mountain stage.