Molano: I’ve had it up to here with Hugo Page
In a UAE Team Emirates statement the Colombian says it was a 'dangerous mistake'
What a difference a public relations filter makes. “I’d like to apologise to Hugo Page,” said Juan Sebastián Molano, in a statement from UAE Team Emirates, adding that he “regrets” his “dangerous mistake”. Behind the video referee truck in Gap, his words are not so polite and not so carefully chosen.
“I’ve had it up to here with that guy,” the Colombian told reporters at the scene, going on to accuse Page of a series of dangerous manoeuvres that led to their altercation on stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Molano had just finished his post-race shower when he learned he’d been summoned by race officials to the video truck. He knew exactly why, and also had a good idea of the fate that awaited him.
“I'm a sprinter and I know that hands should always remain on handlebars,” he would say as the officials deliberated.
Molano had removed his right hand from his bars in order to lash out at Page inside the final 10km of stage 6, landing a forceful blow on the top of the 20-year-old’s helmet.
Remarkably, he did something similar beyond the finish line. In footage captured by the Danish TV2 crew, Molano can be seen slapping Page again on the side of the helmet. It was not as aggressive as the original strike, and came as the pair attempt to discuss the incident, but it still felt excessive.
The riders failed to reach a consensus and Molano stormed off, leaving Page in front of the waiting reporters, telling them Molano is “crazy”.
Molano declined to speak to the media when he descended from the bus and ambled towards the video truck, getting lost in the cable-laden maze to the side of the finish line. He climbed the metal stairs and could be seen inside gesticulating as the commissaires played him the footage and he attempted to produce a justification.
When he emerged, a decision had not yet been made, but he was ready to offer his side of the story.
“I’ve had a problem with him since the first days,” Molano said of Page. “The stage  when the breakaway made it as well, I nearly ended up on the ground because of him. The other day I said ‘don’t do that again’.
“Today, with around 10km to go, at 80 kilometres per hour, he wants to change his line. I’m going in my direction, he comes from the other direction and wants to change lines and make contact with me. There were 10 kilometres to go, stress was high, we were doing 80 kilometres per hour… I know what I did wasn’t good, but… some will understand, I’d had it up to here with that guy.”
Molano did offer up an apology, and admitted he knew deep down he was in the wrong and would probably be thrown off the race.
“I’m sorry. I don’t like to do that, you know. But in the tension of the race I did it.”
That said, he was aggrieved that Page had no case to answer.
“I’d like them to get him up here to explain why things happened - what happened on the first day, what happened afterwards. It wasn’t just me who saw it - 50% of the peloton saw it.”
Molano was then asked about the altercation beyond the finish line and, despite some confusion around the translation of the question, appeared to claim Page had been the one who hit him. In a bizarre twist, the head of the jury, with Molano gone back to his bus, then started asking the gathered journalists about the post-stage run-in, calling the TV2 reporter into the truck to look at his iPhone footage.
The decision was surely already made, however, with the original strike never likely to escape sanction. Molano sat on the bus when the confirmation came, and prepared to pack his suitcase for good.
“I understand why I was disqualified,” he concluded, back in team statement mode, “and can only say that I regret it and learn from it.”
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Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.