Pack your bags: Peter Sagan the latest big name in the Grand Tour ‘hall of shame’

Getting towed, cadging lifts, fighting and other non-doping disqualifications

Peter Sagan’s disqualification makes him the second rider in 2017 to be kicked off a Grand Tour, joining Javier Moreno (Bahrain-Merida), who was booted off the Giro d’Italia in May.

Both men are now on a long list of riders to incur the wrath of race commissaires and get sent home from a Grand Tour mid-race, joining several big names including Vincenzo Nibali and Chris Froome.

Peter Sagan is the latest big-name rider to booted off a Grand Tour mid-race (Pic: Sirotti)

In fact, while doping in cycling means ‘DSQ’ is an all-too-common sight in Grand Tour results sheets, Sagan and Moreno are nowhere near the first riders to have been sent home for entirely different reasons.

Let’s take a look at some of the other riders to have been sent packing mid-race, for reasons entirely unrelated to doping.

Peter Sagan (Tour de France, 2017)

Of all the people on this list, Peter Sagan’s disqualification is probably one of the most controversial – he’s certainly not short of supporters from the pro peloton who felt his punishment was harsh.

But nevertheless, after his ‘dangerous sprinting’ saw Mark Cavendish suffer a race-ending crash, and was deemed worthy of expulsion from the race, the world champion had no choice but to pack his bags.

In a chaotic sprint finish to stage four of the 2017 race in Vittel, Cavendish tried to squeeze through a gap on the barriers, only for Sagan to cut across him and force him into the barriers, flicking an elbow out as Cavendish fell.

Was it deliberate? Was the punishment fitting? The debate will rumble on and on…

Javier Moreno (Giro d’Italia, 2017)

With tensions rising on the run-in to Mount Etna, Javier Moreno and Diego Rosa both set about bringing their team leaders to the front of the race on stage four of the Giro.

And, unsurprisingly, when Rosa found Moreno occupying the spot he wanted to take up, an exchange of words followed.

Javier Moreno pushed Diego Rosa into the roadside, and was kicked off the 2017 Giro d’Italia (pic – Sirotti)

And then actions. Illegal actions. Namely Moreno shoving the Team Sky man into the roadside.

Cue an enforced bike change for Rosa and then, after commissaires reviewed the footage post-race, a one-way ticket home for Moreno.

Vincenzo Nibali (Vuelta a Espana, 2015)

Vincenzo Nibali’s 2015 Vuelta a Espana disqualification was called a ‘severe penalty’ at the time by his Astana team, but the Shark had no case to answer after TV cameras caught him grabbing a tow from the team car.

With his Vuelta a Espana hopes taking a hit – literally, as he crashed with 30km of stage two remaining – Nibali’s desperation to get back to the bunch proved too much.

After burning out his team-mates, the team car – driven by Alexander Sheffer – pulled up alongside him and the two were soon rapidly accelerating up the road.

And the chase, ultimately, did not do Nibali any good anyway as he finished almost 90 seconds back on the stage.

After race commissaires met to discuss his little manoeuvre, however, his finishing time became a moot point as ‘DSQ’ was stamped by his name instead.

Chris Froome (Giro d’Italia, 2010)

Chris Froome’s maiden Giro d’Italia for Team Sky ended with a disqualification after the Kenyan-born Brit hitched a ride with a police motorbike.

Froome – who was suffering with a knee injury – found himself off the back on the Mortirolo climb on stage 19 and grabbed the bike to get a pull to the top.

Chris Froome struggles with the knee injury that ultimately led to his exit from the 2010 Giro d’Italia (pic – Sirotti)

He said post-stage his intention was only ever to reach the summit, where a soigneur awaited, and then climb off but after being spotted by a commissaire he was sent packing instead.

A 200 swiss francs fine accompanied the DSQ but Froome of course bounced back strongly after ridding himself of the injuries and illness that held him back during his early career.

Eduardo Sepulveda (Tour de France, 2015)

Getting a tow from a motorbike or team car is one thing, but to climb off and get into a team car is another entirely – especially when it isn’t your team’s either.

Eduardo Sepulveda’s debut Tour de France came to a premature end in 2015 after he suffered a broken chain on a steep climb with 23km to go on stage 14.

Eduardo Sepulveda’s 2015 Tour de France ended early after he took a lift in the Ag2r-La Mondiale car (pic: Sirotti)

The Argentine rider became stranded as his team car continued up the road, and when Ag2r-La Mondiale stopped to offer him a spare wheel he – panicking – climbed into the car as he could not walk with his cleats on to where his own car had stopped.

The impromptu lift, which Ag2r team manager Vincent Lavenu said came with the Argentine in a clear panic, only lasted 100m but rules meant he had to be disqualified.

Both teams called the sanctions harsh, in the context of the incident, but with little choice the commissaires were forced to send a hugely apologetic Sepulveda home.

Gianluca Brambilla and Ivan Rovny (Vuelta a Espana, 2014)

Who was the best rider in the breakaway on stage 16 of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana? “There’s only one way to settle this,” as Harry Hill might say, “Fight!”

Unfortunately, Gianluca Brambilla and Ivan Rovny must have had similar ideas after coming to blows as they approached the day’s penultimate climb.

Riding in a 13-man move, Brambilla called Rovny out for his perceived lack of effort and, well, it didn’t go down too well.

Jerseys were grabbed, fists were swung, punches were landed – leading to Rovny requiring new sunglasses – and then ultimately the commissaires got involved.

It was nearly half-an-hour later that a decision was announced, with Brambilla having attacked with two other riders off the front and Rovny having returned to the bunch to help with the chase.

Despite both riders clearly having an impact on the remainder of the stage, their race was cut short as the red commissaires’ car pulled up alongside to issue the bad news.

Brambilla called it a ‘sad day’ on Twitter, though he got some support from Rovny’s team owner Oleg Tinkov who had said it was part of the ‘SHOW’ a la hockey. We’re not so sure about that Oleg…

Mark Renshaw (Tour de France, 2010)

Mark Renshaw has made a name as being lead-out man extraordinaire for Mark Cavendish, playing a key-role in many of the Manx Missile’s biggest wins.

But in leading Cav out on stage 11 of the 2010 Tour de France, the Australian overstepped the mark in the eyes of the race commissaires.

After hitting the front, Renshaw found himself with Tyler Farrar’s lead-out man Julian Dean for company and used his head in a bid to get rid of his rival. Literally.

The Australian insists it looked worse on TV – his headbutts, he said, were the only he could stay upright after Dean moved off his line.

The race jury disagreed – not least because Renshaw then nearly drove Farrar into the barriers after dropping Cavendish off at the front.

Cavendish won the stage, but had to make do without Renshaw for the rest of the race after the Australian was sent home – not that Cav seemed to mind, as he went on to win two more stages.

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