If he dies, he dies: Marcel Kittel sees funny side after Dubai Tour spat but calls for long Andrei Grivko ban - Road Cycling UK

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If he dies, he dies: Marcel Kittel sees funny side after Dubai Tour spat but calls for long Andrei Grivko ban

Astana rider kicked out of race after striking German during stage three

Marcel Kittel has called for Andrei Grivko to face a long ban from cycling after the Ukrainian hit the race leader during stage three of the Dubai Tour.

Kittel was jostling for position as crosswinds and a desert sandstorm wreaked havoc on the peloton and echelons began to form, when the Astana rider hit him in the face.

The German suffered a cut just above the eye, where his sunglasses had broken, and was later seen in heated discussions with the race commissaire.

Grivko has been kicked out of the race as a result, but Kittel has called for the Ukrainian to face a long ban and slammed the Astana rider’s actions on Twitter.

“I won’t accept an apology for this,” he wrote. “That has nothing to do with cycling. What Grivko did is a shame for our beautiful sport.”

In his earlier post-race press conference, held after he successfully retained the race lead despite missing out on contesting the bunch sprint, Kittel suggested Grivko should face a six month ban.

“He should be disqualified and get a ban for the next six months maybe,” he said. “It’s a terrible disappointment for cycling, his team, the sponsors and this race.”

Confirming what had happened, the German said Grivko had hit him as he was jostling for position with the Astana man and one of his team-mates.

But he clearly saw the funny side, afterwards, posting a picture of himself super-imposed onto the Rocky IV character, Soviet juggernaut Ivan Drago’s body.

“I just googled Grivko and it said he is 70kg,” he joked. “Dude, know your limits!!”

Kittel, who won stages one and two of the Dubai Tour, leads Dutch champion Dylan Groenewegen by eight seconds overall, with stage three winner John Degenkolb ten seconds in arrears.

Three British riders – Tom Stewart, Alex Dowsett and Mark Cavendish – sit inside the top ten overall, 14, 14 and 16 seconds in arrears respectively.

The race continues tomorrow (Friday January 3), with the uphill finish on Hatta Dam offering a chance for Kittel’s more versatile sprinting rivals to shake the GC up on the race’s solitary climb.

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