10 September 2020

Tour de France: Van Aert ‘shocked and angry’ at Sagan after shoulder barge during sprint on stage 11

Wout Van Aert has slammed Peter Sagan’s ‘shocking’ sprint tactics after he shoulder barged the Belgian during the finish on stage 11 of the Tour de France.

The three-time world road race champion attempted to make room for himself in the final metres by pushing Van Aert over the road, a move he was subsequently punished for by being relegated to last place.

Irishman Sam Bennett now has a 68-point lead over Sagan in the green jersey classification (Zuma Press/PA Images)

Van Aert showed his anger at Sagan with a hand gesture as the pair crossed the finishing line and continued to vent his frustration at the finish.

Speaking to reporters after the race, he said: "[I was] so shocked and angry I didn’t use a very nice word. Afterwards I tried to say to him that it isn’t done like that and I didn’t like what he was doing. It would never have been perfect but to end like this – it’s frustrating.

"In my opinion, I sprinted in a completely straight line, I started complete on the right on the barriers, and he just tried to create space for himself, and for me, he's not allowed to do that. I think it’s already dangerous enough.

"I was really surprised and shocked at the moment I felt something. I was making a maximum effort, so I was really scared."

Van Aert, who has already won two stages at this year’s Tour, then went on to honestly assess where he feels he would have placed had he not been impeded by Sagan.

When asked whether he would have finished higher, he added: "Higher? Of course, but I don’t know if it was enough to win. The only opportunity I had was when there was some space on the right and that’s why I went a bit too early.

"The only thing that came back was strong words, so it was hard to have a conversation."

Sagan has claimed the green jersey for winner of the points classification in seven of the last eight Tours but is under serious threat of losing it this year to Sam Bennett.

The Irishman now has a 68-point lead over Sagan heading into the final 10 days of the race.

If Bennett can hold on to the jersey, he will become the first Irish rider since Sean Kelly in 1989 to win the green jersey classification at the Tour.

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