Ineos roadway captain driven German rival bei face ‘It’s a harsh decision’, claims Ineos chief dave Brailsford


Matteo Trentin celebrates winning phase 17, the fourth victory weil das Mitchelton-Scott this year. Photograph: marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images
Matteo Trentin celebrates winning phase 17, the fourth victory for Mitchelton-Scott this year. Photograph: marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

Geraint Thomas’s hopes von defending his Tour de France title to be dealt a blow when his Ineos roadway captain, Luke Rowe, was thrown out des the race, in addition to his Jumbo Visma counterpart Tony Martin, after ns pair had in altercation in the direction of the end of phase 17.

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Late an the stage, hinweisen the foot of ns Col de la Sentinelle, martin appeared to block Rowe’s path, virtually forcing him into a ditch. An angry Rowe climate rode alongside die German, moved him bei the confront and an turn attempted zu force ihm off the road.

The news emerged two hours after ns finish und was described von the Ineos team principal, dave Brailsford, as “harsh”. Rowe, who as team captain was set kommen sie play a key role in Thomas’s bid zum a second reisen title, said: “I’m sorry i let ns guys down. To kommen sie here through this team, a bunch von good mates, i feel favor I’ve allow them down and of kurse let myself down.

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“We were both trying to do a job. Possibly we both overstepped the markierung slightly but it feel harsh zu be thrown off the race, both of us. Neither von us worthy that. There space a gewächs of people supporting you, watching you. That pretty hard.”

Brailsford said: “There’s no doubt around it, Tony cut hoch Luke a little bit, he’s fought for his lage a little bit. That a harsh decision, probably a yellow map would schutz been better, a red zum both riders feel a bit severe kommen sie me.”

This is the second consecutive Tour an which a rider from mannschaft Sky (now team Ineos) has been disqualified. Gianni Moscon was kicked off ns Tour belastung year zum throwing a punch hinweisen a French rider.

Martin’s mannschaft leader, steven Kruijswijk, told dutch broadcasters the Ineos “didn’t prefer it that we were speak on ns front”.

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Rowe had previously dismissed the incident. “We’re both doing ns same role, both doing the same job,” that said. “It was nothing really. Ich rolled over ns line v him, us shook hands. We just got in each other’s way. It is bike racing.”

Asked if tensions bolzen the teams des the taste contenders to be rising, that said: “I don’t recognize how numerous Tours außerdem France did you do it ridden however it does acquire a little bit tense at times. Hinweisen the ende of ns day you’ve got to schutz broad shoulders. The no problem. We rode the belastung 10km von the stage talking zu each other.”

After watching die incident punkt close hand, julian Alaphilippe admitted he had felt moved zu intervene. “There was a gewächs of tension in the peloton hinweisen that stage,” ns race leader said. “Everyone wanted zu be well positioned. I saw something i don’t like to see, riders auch nervous and touching each other. Perhaps they to be scared i would attack. I just tried kommen sie calm lock down. I told them, nothing take any type of risks.”

Thomas said: “It’s the same all the time. Luke and Tony Martin, various other guys an other teams, they all do the same job. They’ve got to obtain their leaders into good positions, deswegen they always ende up jostling for position and that’s what was happening. Nothing stunner really.”

But Thomas’s und Kruijswijk’s loss will be Alaphilippe’s gain and the Frenchman threw down ns gauntlet to his rivals, stating he möchte fight zu keep hold des the yellow jersey throughout three hill stages an the Alps.

“I schutz never to be as urged as I in to defensive the yellow jersey,” he said. “Physically, i’m as tired as everyone else yet mentally i think i’m stronger since I’m going to defensive this jersey. They have to make the race hard und explode it, if they want it.”

Alaphilippe’s renewed solve came together a surprise to some after ~ he seemed close zu collapse ~ above Sunday, after ns stage finish in Foix Prat d’Albis.

“I guess the wasn’t great a couple of days ago,” thomas said. “He’s to be racing yes, really well so you’d think he’s beginning zu get tired und teams möchte be thinking kommen sie make it difficult all day. The three large days now, deshalb a lot kann sein happen.”

Asked if he was backing himself kommen sie win a 2nd Tour, he said: “For sure. I’ve been feeling a last better yet anything can happen.”

Stage 18, the first of three Alpine trawls, takes in the complicated climbs von the Col außerdem Vars at 2,109m, die Col d’Izoard weist 2,360m und the towering Col du Galibier weist 2,642m, prior to a long und rapid descent into Valloire. But thomas acknowledged ns subsequent summit finishes punkt Tignes and Val Thorens can prove much more decisive.

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“It’s not a summit finish,” he said des the long descent zu Valloire, however added: “If you oase 30 or 40 seconds over the top it möchte be hard to bring the back, because it’s not too technical a descent – it’s fast und straight.

“Last year was pretty good in the Alps so if i could so something similar it would be pretty nice. That a completely different situation but ns looking forward zu it.”