Rui Costa defends actions after crash at Saudi Tour

The race leader came in for criticism after taking his hand off the bars just before a crash

(Image credit: GodingImages/PA Images)

Rui Costa has explained his actions after he and another rider collided on stage two of the Saudi Tour, resulting in a crash in the final 15k.

Race leader Costa has come in for criticism after footage from the race shows he took his hand of the bars to shove NTT Pro Cycling’s Reinart Janse van Rensburg who had moved across into him in the bunch.

Roman Kreuziger, another NTT Pro Cycling rider racing in Saudi Arabia, shared footage of the crash on Twitter after the stage and said: “I think using hands is not correct, even having the leader’s jersey.

“I hope the UCI will see this video.”

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The crash happened with around 12km to race as the peloton upped the pace to close down the break, with Van Rensburg and Enrico Gasparotto from NTT the biggest names caught in the fall, while Costa managed to keep it upright.

Mark Cavendish was also held up by the crash, having already fallen and suffered a puncture wound to his leg earlier in the stage.

Responding to the criticism, Costa said on Facebook: “Feeling sad about the crash during the stage of the mate from NTT, which led to the accidental crash of other riders.

“I would like to clarify that it was Van Rensberg who accidentally came to my side and my gesture was to protect myself from crash.

“After the stage, Van Rensburg came personally to our bus to clarify that this situation happened due to a team-mate touch him and his gesture is really appreciated.”

A photo posted by on

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Costa leads the race by one second over Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren) after two stages of racing, after the former world champion took an impressive stage victory on the opening day.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.