Mark Cavendish may have taken the sprint today to win his second successive stage of this year’s Tour de France, but for once it’s not the finish itself that’s got people searching on YouTube, but a bit of fisticuffs afterwards between Quick Step’s Carlos Barredo and Rui Alberto Costa of Caisse d’Epargne.
The punch-up – well, more a case of handbags, or sacs à main as they say in France – was quickly broken up, and seems to have resulted from an incident during the finish, given the way Barredo hurled himself at Costa, waving his front wheel in the air while shouting “hijo de puta!”
Not that it affected the result, with both riders given a time three seconds behind Cavendish, the Portugeuse Caisse d’Epargne rider finishing 110th on the stage and Spain’s Barredo 33 places further back.Both riders were fined 400 Swiss Francs for ‘insults, threats and incorrect behaviour,’ and Reuters reported that Caisse d’Epargne team director Yvon Ledanois had said “I was told by a race steward that one of my riders had been involved in a fight but I don’t know the circumstances.”
Ledanois added: “I suppose they were involved in a race incident and that with the sun, spirits heated up. I want to talk it over calmly with Rui in the hotel.”
Another rider involved in a bit of a post-race altercation was Katusha sprinter Robbie McEwen, fourth on the stage, who may have missed out on the podium, but was still collared by one the chaperones – we mean ‘collared’ literally.
Earlier this evening, McEwen posted a message on the social networking site, Twitter, that said: “Un-f-believable. Got taken out at 60km/h by a podium chaperone 75m after finish. He literally jumped in front & ran into me. Nothing broken."
Anyone who’s ever been on the racing side of the barriers at a sprint finish will know how vital it is to keep an eye on the riders as they cross the line, both for the cyclists’ safety and their own, but that message doesn’t seem to have got through to McEwen’s assailant.
Shortly after his first tweet, McEwen was back, saying: “My back is so sore. I want him identified and expelled. Just too ridiculous for words what he did. I hope I can ride tmoro. I mean WTF.”
Just before midnight French time, McEwen was tweeting again, saying: "so it seems the idiot who knocked me off is a tv journo. only banned for one day. check out what he did here."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.