McEwen continues to defend himself

By John Trevorrow in Tours

Davitamon-Lotto sprinter Robbie McEwen still feels that he was hard done by in the finishing sprint of Stage 3, where he was disqualified after the judges deemed him to have hindered Stuart O'Grady with his head in the run into the line. The replays, viewed by millions around the world, showed the pair clashing with 100 metres to go - a normal part of sprinting - but then McEwen seemed to deliberately head-butt O'Grady twice following that. That's how most saw it, including the commissaires, who relegated McEwen to last place in the bunch and put a serious dent in his green jersey chances.

O'Grady finished the stage in third, but believed the incident cost him second place because of the loss of speed, and there was definitely no love lost between the two Australians. McEwen claims he was merely off-balance, and his actions were not deliberate. We spoke to him this morning in Tours, and he explained his side of things:

"I didn't say anything straight off the stage, unlike Stuey. I waited to view the footage. To me, Stuey came in on me to get Boonen's wheel and he hit me very hard. I don't think he knew it was me when it first happened. But then he kept pressing me away and the only thing I could do because of the angle I was on was to move my head. It was the only thing I had to push him away. I was actually trying to stay upright. He had his whole bodyweight against me. I had Wrolich on the other side.

"I think the commissaires have overreacted to how much my head moved but that was because of how much I was angle the other way. I don't think what Stuey did deserved for him to be disqualified and I know that I should not have been disqualified. They should have just let it stand. I have been disqualified before and when I know there's something to it, I just accept it and say 'oh well, c'est la vie'. But this time I feel robbed."

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