2 riders kicked out of Tour de France after altercation

GAP FRANCE- JULY 24 Luke Rowe of United Kingdom and Team INEOS  during the 106th Tour de France 2019 Stage 17 a 200km stage from Pont du Gard to Gap  TDF  #TDF2019  @LeTour

GAP FRANCE- JULY 24 Luke Rowe of United Kingdom and Team INEOS during the 106th Tour de France 2019 Stage 17 a 200km stage from Pont du Gard to Gap TDF #TDF2019 @LeTour

Geraint Thomas' hopes of defending his Tour de France title have suffered a blow after his road captain Luke Rowe was expelled from the race yesterday along with Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin.

Welshman Luke Rowe and German Tony Martin were kicked off the race after clashing on the last climb of a hot 200km journey from Pont du Gard to Gap.

Martin's actions nearly forced Rowe off the road, infuriating the Welsh cyclist who retaliated by shoving the German in the face.

Team Ineos' Rowe, who was attempting to move his teammates to the head of the race, had to correct himself to avoid crashing off the bitumen.

"I do feel hard done by, you have to take it with broad shoulders, they make the decisions", Rowe said. "I think we both made a mistake".

"I think it was harsh and what the jury misses for both of us is that second chance, to let us say that we are really sorry and that we would accept a penalty", the rider of Lotto-Jumbo explained.

"Neither of us deserve that".

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Last year, Ineos - then Team Sky - rider Gianni Moscon was expelled from the Tour for taking a swing at French rider Elie Gesbert.

"It's nothing more than you see most days of the race", he said. It's a pretty harsh decision.

Cyclists Luke Rowe and Tony Martin have protested their disqualification from the Tour de France for "acts of violence". With another gruelling trip across the Alps and Pyrenees, who will wear the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees?

Alaphilippe had himself tried to calm the tensions on the road after the clash. Cycling's answer to the video referee had seen enough to examine the evidence and now a decision has been reached that will favour Thibaut Pinot and the other riders considered the main threats to the ambitions of Thomas - who remains 95sec behind Alaphilippe - and Bernal. "I said you can't be throwing Tony out and you can't throw myself out for this". "I feel hard done by, but it's something we have to live with".

" I do feel like it was a bit over the top. Finally I won, it's a great moment".

"They always end up jostling for position and things, and that's what was happening but nothing insane really", said Thomas.

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