John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) criticised Peter Sagan for aggression that he perceived as "a little bit over the limit" as the two jostled for position in the run-in on stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse on Monday.
Being towards the very front of the peloton was crucial, with a left-hand corner with 200 metres to go leading into the cobbled incline to the finish line.
Degenkolb's teammate Jasper Stuyven hit the front with 600 metres to go, but what seemed like a perfect manoeuvre was disrupted when Sagan muscled his way in. He and Degenkolb both barged shoulders and leaned in as they fought for the wheel but in the end it was Sagan who claimed the prime position, going on to take more speed through the corner and sprint to a comfortable victory.
Degenkolb finished third after being overtaken by Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), and clearly felt Sagan had overstepped the mark.
“It was looking really, really good until just before the last corner. I had to fight with Sagan for my own teammate’s wheel and it was super crazy against him. I think it was a little bit over the limit," he said.
“We had the team to make a better finish than this. Yes, it’s not finished, but it was a big chance today, and it probably could have ended a little bit better, so it’s a little disappointing."
Nevertheless, Degenkolb, who is set to miss out on selection for the Tour de France this year, took positives from the performance of his teammates.
"It was a good day in general, the team worked really well together. Not only the guys for the leadout but also the climbers helped for the preparation," he said.
"I am happy to still come home in third place and super, super happy that we worked so well together."
Degenkolb has more opportunities to take a victory at the Tour de Suisse, with stages 4 and 5 both suited to sprinters who can climb.