Hugo Page was left fuming after stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, branding Juan Molano 'crazy' following the altercation in which he was struck on the head by the Colombian.
Molano was caught on camera smacking Page's helmet in the final 10km of the stage to Gap, and was later disqualified from the race by UCI officials.
If his ears weren't still ringing when he crossed the line, they might have been again when the pair came together and Molano once again slapped him on the head. It was a lighter slap, and in the middle of an apparent attempt to bury the hatchet, but no resolution was reached and the pair both stormed off.
"With 10km to go he gave me a smack on the helmet and insulted me," Page explained to reporters in Gap soon after.
"He wasn't happy, because he said I'd cut him up. But that's part of racing. For me, I held my line. Since the start I've done clean sprints, and what's more, I do it all alone, I don't bother anyone."
Page clarified that Molano had offered no apology beyond the line, and alleged that the Colombian has previous when it comes to such incidents. "It's not the first time he's done that," he said. "It's not normal." A little later, he described they smack as "really strong", adding: "He's crazy."
Molano was later disqualified but Page apparently played no part in that. When asked if he'd made a complaint to the race officials, he said: "No, I'm not an idiot."
Page is a 20-year-old neo-pro riding for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. He has enjoyed a strong debut season and a strong Dauphiné, placing fourth on the opening stage, third in the bunch sprint behind the breakaway on stage 2, and fifth on stage 5.
He is in the green jersey but is only third on the points classification, wearing it on loan as Wout van Aert is in the yellow jersey of overall leader and Ethan Hayter in the white of best young rider.
En sjælden løbetur gav pludselig afkast. Juan Molano fra UAE slår Hugo Page efter målstregen på dagens etape af Critérium du Dauphiné. Nu er Molano blevet smidt ud af løbet. Mere her: https://t.co/d6fvLaY3SV… @jacobqvirin pic.twitter.com/ORP7APpd2UJune 10, 2022
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Deputy Editor - Europe. 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 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, 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.