The jury’s decision to disqualify Luke Rowe (Ineos) and Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) for fighting was “harsh” and “over the top” say riders at the 2019 Tour de France.
The two pushed and shoved each other during stage 17 to Gap on Wednesday and after finishing, were sent home.
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“This is a very hard decision,” Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Jumbo-Visma) told Cycling Weekly. “It’s maybe a bit over the top.
“I think with 40 degrees in the third week of the Tour, it’s just human to have a reaction sometimes. I know, we’re 180 idiots riding in the way of each other for three weeks. Of course at one point, you have an incident.
“Of course it’s better it doesn’t happen, but it’s human to make a mistake. If you are a grown up person, you admit it and you say sorry, and it’s over. But I don’t think you have to go home at once.”
It wasn’t only Martin’s team-mate, who is racing for the win with Steven Kruijswijk, that thought that they should still be in the Tour for stage 18.
“I think the punishment was a bit harsh,” said Ben King (Dimension Data).
“It was wrong. That’s obvious. But my first reaction was, you know, if the commentators could see everything that went on in a race, there would be a lot fewer riders and but it said, expelling them from the races, it sets a precedence that that kind of behaviour isn’t tolerated and it shouldn’t be tolerated.
“My other reaction was, you know, they’re adults let them fight. The only issue is that it puts other riders at risk if they’re behind them and braking it and acting erratically.”
Martin nearly put Rowe off the road and into the fans. Rowe saved himself, but nearly fell over in the process. The jury decided after pulling in all the facts and speaking to the riders.
“It’s a bit hard and tough,” Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal) said.
“That’s that’s racing, there’s a lot of fights for positioning and probably one per cent was seen on the camera, but there’s so much more going on during the race.
“If the jury wants to record this then we need a helicopter the whole time over a bunch and then there would be half of us left if they will take out riders by this movement. There are many more [incidents like this] in during the race.”
Kluge admitted it was maybe too much by Martin to edge Rowe over to the side.
“It’s harsh? Yeah, but that’s probably still the only way to to learn or to get better because if it was money or time, then they probably don’t mind.”