Peter Sagan says he was unaware at the time that he had come into contact with Maxime Vantomme.
The incident occurred last Sunday, in Gent-Wevelgem, on the final ascent of the Kemmelberg. As the riders went over the climb, Sagan is badly positioned as Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) go on the attack at the front of the bunch. Sagan moves around a Quick-Step Floors cyclist but uses his shoulder to push Vantomme out of his way.
The world champion wrote on Twitter: “I just saw the video of the contact with @MaximeVantomme at @GentWevelgem. I wasn’t aware of it. I’m sorry but these things happen in races.”
“That’s the life of a small cyclist,” Vantomme responded on Twitter.
Sagan received criticism over the incident from a number of riders including Oliver Naesen (AG2R) and Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumbo).
“I saw it and thought I had not seen it properly. I then watched the footage again and that’s not nice. If it was me, he would have broken a rib, for sure. I would have pushed back”, said Naesen.