Alberto Contador's personal mechanic Faustino Muñoz has been expelled from the Giro by a panel of judges after hitting a spectator during the uphill time trial from Belluno to Nevegal. Muñoz opened the door of the Saxo Bank-SunGard team assistance car to punish the person he believed tried to punch the wearer of the pink jersey.
Race judges have urged the staff of team Saxo Bank-SunGard to return his accreditation.
"We approve the sanction given by the UCI because this is an undesirable behaviour from our mechanic," directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit told Cyclingnews. "He has realized, but too late, that he shouldn't have done that. He apologized to the team for what he did and we hope this sanction will help him to control his reactions."
Contador denied any wrongdoings by the people in the crowd. "It's incredible how they are behaving towards me", the Spaniard said in a press conference. "They have showed me their affection since the first day of the race. There was some confusion about the cancellation of the Crostis but that wasn't my fault. Today again, the tifosi have inspired me to do my best. There was no problem."
A syringe under Contador's name was painted on the road and apart from the last kilometre of the Monte Zoncolan where the Spaniard was booed, the three-time winner of the Tour de France has largely been welcomed as a hero in Italy.
Muñoz who was Manolo Saiz' mechanic at ONCE and Liberty Seguros will keep his job at Saxo Bank-SunGard and he'll remain at the Giro, however will work on Contador's bike only at the hotel, as he's now banned from attending the race.