Wout van Aert tried to speak to Peter Sagan after stage 11 ‘but the only thing that came back was strong words’

The sprinters had some stern words, as Sagan was relegated for shoving Van Aert in the final 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert says he tried to speak to Peter Sagan after their incident of stage 11 of the Tour de France, but he only received “strong words” in response. 

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Sagan initially finished second on the sprint stage to Poitiers, but was quickly relegated after the finish for a manoeuvre on Van Aert in the last 50 metres. 

Sagan used his head and shoulder to shove the Jumbo-Visma sprinter as he came from behind, eventually forcing his way through to overtake Van Aert.

But the commissaires didn’t take kindly to the incident and relegated Sagan to last place in the peloton, which moved Sam Bennett (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) up to second and put Van Aert on the podium in third. 

Speaking after the stage Van Aert, winner of two sprint stages in this year’s Tour already, said:  "My opinion is I sprinted in a completely straight line at the right on the barriers. 

“He just tried to create space for himself and for me you’re not allowed to do that. 

“It’s already dangerous enough. I was really surprised and shocked at that moment, I felt something I was at maximum effort so I was really scared.”

Sagan’s relegation means Sam Bennett extends his lead in the points classification and the Slovakian may struggle to find enough opportunities to close the gap by the time the race reaches Paris. 

At the line Van Aert made a gesture towards Sagan to show his frustration and he said he also had some bad language for the former world champion.

But when he then tried to approach Sagan again to explain why he was unhappy, Van Aert said he was only met with more bad language in return.

He said: “In the first moment I was so shocked and surprised that I was angry and I used some not very nice words to him. Afterwards I tried to explain it wasn’t right and I didn’t like what he did,but the only thing that came back was other strong words, so it was hard to have a conversation.”

Van Aert isn’t convinced that he would have won the stage if Sagan hadn’t shoved him, but said it was “frustrating” to end like that. 

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He added: “I’m also a good bike handler but it doesn’t come into my mind to create space like this.  

“There wasn’t a gap.” 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.