Stage 11 of the Tour de France will largely be remembered for its sprint finish, and the polemica that arose from Peter Sagan's (Bora-Hansgrohe) move on Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) on the run to the line.
The largely quiet day did see a few other incidents of note, too. While Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) tightened his grip on the green jersey in the aftermath of the points deduction suffered by Sagan, there was an early, hopeless break from Groupama-FDJ's Mathieu Ladagnous, while Astana's Ion Izagirre left the race after a crash.
Sagan's relegation was the big story, though, so we'll approach that from a different angle – what did personalities from around the cycling world make of it?
Read on for the Tour de France stage 11 news shorts.
Reactions to Sagan's sprint move
Confirmation that race officials relegated Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) for dangerous sprinting following stage 11 at the Tour de France quickly circulated throughout the cycling world sparking a series of reactions across social media.
Sagan was part of the final sprint into Poitiers where he crossed the finish line in second place behind stage winner Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). Sagan was later relegated to the back of the bunch after officials reviewed video footage that showed him shoulder-barging Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in order to push him out of the way and create a space to move through to the finish line.
Officials determined that his sprint went against UCI road race regulations, section 2.12.007, 5.1 and they relegated Sagan to 85th place on the stage and deducted the points he gained at the finish (30), as well as a quarter of stage winner Ewan's points (12.5 rounded up to 13).
Van Aert and Sagan exchanged heated words after crossing the line. Van Aert, along with his Jumbo-Visma teammate and the overall race leader Primož Roglič, later said they agreed with the officials' decision to relegate Sagan.
While some members of the cycling community also agreed with the ruling, others did not, suggesting that sprinters shouldn’t be punished for using their skills.
Retired pro Taylor Phinney expressed his support for the extreme scenarios and skills sprinters use during bunch sprints but also balanced out his reaction with concern for the obvious dangers involved in sprinting.
"Dangerous ? Yes. Badass ? Also yes... Respect to and the rest of the sprinters as they are among the worlds most insane (I mean this in both applicable ways) extreme sport athletes... leave it to the tdf to get me back on Twitter!"
Dangerous ? Yes. Badass ? Also yes... Respect to @petosagan and the rest of the sprinters as they are among the worlds most insane (I mean this in both applicable ways) extreme sport athletes... leave it to the tdf to get me back on Twitter! pic.twitter.com/R17TQEKjhgSeptember 9, 2020
Brian Cookson, former president of the UCI, did not think highly of Sagan's move, saying on Twitter, "Sorry, but that was an outrageously dangerous move by Peter Sagan."
Sorry, but that was an outrageously dangerous move by Peter Sagan.September 9, 2020
Twenty-six-year-old French sprinter Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation) was close to the skirmish at the finish line in Poitiers, finishing eighth on stage 11, and also took to Twitter to give feedback to Sagan.
"With all the respect that I have for you, if I don't break [brake], in this moment, me and maybe some other guys are in the hospital now... I'm very disappointed...," Hofstetter wrote, noting that he does not often use Twitter.
Hi @petosagan I never use tweeter but... with all the respect that I have for you, If I don’t break, in this moment Me and maybe some other guys are in the hospital now... I’m very disappointed... pic.twitter.com/FXmOdScx7USeptember 9, 2020
Trek-Segafredo's Quinn Simmons, the 19-year-old junior road race world champion who finished second overall at the Tour of Hungary last week, took to Twitter with a different angle on the situation at the Tour de France.
"This sport sure does a good job of hurting itself, sport needs entertaining athletes and actions. Not to punish it. Sagan showed his skill and Van Aert showed some personality. Not something to punish," he said.
This sport sure does a good job at hurting itself, sport needs entertaining athletes and actions. Not to punish it. Sagan showed his skill and Van Aert showed some personality. Not something to punish. https://t.co/8ZQosRiYzYSeptember 9, 2020
Ladagnous' doomed solo breakaway
For a second day in a row, a Groupama-FDJ rider launched an attack that resulted in a most combative award rather than a stage victory. Stefan Küng took his chances on stage 10 in a break, twice, and on stage 11 it was Matthieu Ladagnous.
The 35-year-old Frenchman called his solo attack lonely, but said the team had nothing to lose. He jumped to the front just four minutes down the road from Chatelaillon-Plagne and remained out front for more than 117 kilometres.
"I saw a stage where we had nothing to play for. We don’t have a sprinter and we don’t have the GC to think about anymore. Yesterday Stefan [Kung] went in the break, and today I had a go," Ladagnous said after the 167.5km stage on France Télévisions.
"I was hoping some other guys would come with me but I found myself all alone. I rode. The wind was against me but I tried to do my best and I enjoyed myself all the same. I think it’s the only breakaway I’ve done on my own, so I made the most of it."
L'échappée solitaire de Matthieu Ladagnous arrive à son terme. Le peloton opère la jonction à 45 kilomètres du but. #TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/RUo2YncZ3VSeptember 9, 2020
Izagirre withdraws after crash
Astana Pro Team’s leader Miguel Ángel López finished stage 11 safety in the main pack to maintain his ninth place in the general classification, but two of his teammates were involved in crashes, one sending Ion Izagirre to a local hospital.
Alexey Lutsenko fell down at the start of the stage at a roundabout that also involved Ilnur Zakarin (CCC Team) and Cyril Gautier (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept). All riders were able to remount and continue.
Izagirre was involved in a bad crash inside the last 30 kilometres of racing. Immediately following his crash, the 31-year-old Spaniard was moved to hospital in Poitiers for a medical check, the team said on its web site.
"It was not our day with two crashes of Alexey Lutsenko and Ion Izagirre. Alexey escaped with some minimal injures, while Ion had a really bad crash. We all hope that everything will be ok with him," said Dmitriy Fofonov, team directeur. "If we talk about the stage, our main goal today was to protect Miguel Angel Lopez and we did it perfectly."
The team posted an update to Twitter on Izagirre, saying, "Our rider was diagnosed with right collarbone fracture and right third metacarpal fracture. Also, he has got multiple stitches on his chin and cheek. Ion will spend this night in the hospital under medical supervision."
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