Enric Mas (Movistar) confronted a fan calling him a "moron" at the end of stage four of the Vuelta a España, with the pair exchanging insults before the Spaniard rode away.
Mas finished third on the stage behind Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), just unable to kick powerfully enough on the hilly final kilometre approach to Laguardia to overtake the pair.
Despite securing a podium spot, though, that didn't stop the spectator from challenging the Movistar rider for his performance.
The spectator tweeted a video of the incident, which was later deleted along with the person's account, where they call Mas a "moron" in Spanish. Other users managed to save the footage and repost it, however.
¿Quién ha sido el subnormal?-Yo 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/TjaZjOaZtNAugust 23, 2022
Mas approached the spectator, asking him: "Who is the idiot?"
They replied: “Me, I called you a moron.
Mas said: “Are you stupid or what? Have you ever been hit in that stupid face of yours?”
The spectator responded: “Why, for calling you a moron? Give me a break”.
As Mas decided to remove himself from the altercation and ride away, he swore in the direction of the fan. The spectator threatened Mas to post the video to Twitter, though, as previously mentioned, the original post has since been deleted.
Eurosport's Spanish website (opens in new tab) is reporting that, before the spectator deleted their account, they tweeted: "The difference between Enric Mas and me is that he earns millions and has to put up with anything. If, at the slightest criticism, they call you a 'moron' for having a shitty year and he has the reason to threaten and insult. He accepts criticism and opinions”.
While Mas is 52 seconds behind race leader Roglič on GC, he still seemed fairly content with the performance, telling interviews afterwards: "The only thing I've done wrong is not win."
His Movistar team also posted a show (opens in new tab) of support for the 27-year-old.
Fortunately, the confrontation didn't turn physical, like a similar incident at the 2019 Giro d'Italia did when Colombian cyclist Miguel Ángel López hit a fan in retaliation for being knocked off his bike in the closing stages of stage 20 of the race.
Chris Froome, Gianna Moscon and Alberto Contador have all punched fans at Grand Tours in recent years, too.
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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