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2 riders kicked out of Tour de France after altercation

GAP, France (AP) — Two riders, including a teammate of defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, have been kicked out of the race after they got into an altercation.

Cycling governing body UCI and race organizers said on Wednesday that Thomas’ teammate Luke Rowe and Tony Martin, who rides in support of Jumbo-Visma leader Steven Kruijswijk, were disqualified.

The decision is a blow for both Thomas and Kruijswijk, who were respectively second and third in the overall standings behind race leader Julian Alaphilippe ahead of three tough Alpine stages where they will need strong support.

Martin and Rowe appeared to shove each other close to the finish of the 200-kilometer Stage 17 to Gap in the Col de la Sentinelle. Rowe said it was just a battle for position, adding that he “shook hands” with Martin at the end of the stage.

Thomas shrugged off the shoving.

“It’s just the normal fighting to get their leaders into position,” he said. “Nothing crazy, really.”

It’s the second straight year that Thomas has lost a teammate on disciplinary grounds. Gianni Moscon was disqualified for punching a rival during the 2018 Tour.

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