Tour Down Under 2008 – Elia Rigotto is out for “headbutting” Matthew Hayman

Source: Yahoo News

ADELAIDE, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Italian cyclist Elia Rigotto was disaqualified from the Tour Down Under on Friday for causing an accident that left Australia’s Mathew Hayman with a broken collarbone.

Race officials accused the Italian of “headbutting” the Australian in a frantic sprint to the finish line. He was disqualified from the race and fined, although he insisted it was an accident and Hayman accepted his apology.

“It was a severe headbutt, a very serious incident,” Tour Down Under chief commissaire Michael Robb told Australian Associated Press.

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“It was one of the worst headbutts I’ve seen in a very long time.”

Erik Dekker, the manager of Hayman’s team, said the Australian also thought the crash was an accident and he held no grudges against Rigotto.

“He (Rigotto) said he had his head down and looked up and his head went into Mat’s elbow, he didn’t mean it,” Dekker said.

“He asked ‘please let him (Hayman) know, I didn’t mean to do it’.”

The crash was just one of several accidents on Friday’s fourth stage of the tour. The stage was won by German Andre Greipel while Australian Mark Renshaw retained the overall lead. (Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by John O’Brien)

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