After being stripped of his second stage victory in the Tour of Britain for an “irregular sprint” in Sunday’s London finale, André Greipel insisted that he did not deliberately block Sky’s Elia Viviani.
The Italian inherited the stage victory after commissaires ruled that Greipel deviated from his line in the closing metres on Regent Street.
Viviani was slowed after the pair touched in sight of the line, and he crossed the line making a gesture in the direction of race officials.
“I didn’t see Viviani coming; I was just concentrating on my sprint and suddenly he was next to me,” said Greipel.
“The final straight was not that wide, I had to look for space to overtake. Everybody was on the limit on the final corner.
“I didn’t do anything for purpose that’s for sure. That’s sprinting.”
Viviani did not attend the post-race press conference owing to his flight home.This was his third victory of the race, having won the race opener into Wrexham a week ago and stage three into Kelso’s Floors Castle on Tuesday.
Speaking to TeamSky.com, Viviani said: “When I saw Greipel go I went directly on his left-hand side. He came across a little bit, a little bit and that edged me towards the barriers.
“I’m disappointed because it is better to win without this. He is a big champion and I’ve never seen him do this before. But we won in London and that is the main thing.”