Dubai Tour: Marcel Kittel punched by Andriy Grivko during stage three

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Dubai Tour: Marcel Kittel punched by Andriy Grivko during race

Dubai Tour leader Marcel Kittel says he will not accept an apology after Ukrainian rider Andriy Grivko punched him on the third stage of the race.

Grivko has been disqualified from the race and his Astana team apologised to Kittel and his Quick Step Floors team.

German sprinter Kittel posted a picture on Twitter with blood on his face, and wrote: "I won't accept an apology. That has nothing to do with cycling.

"What Grivko did is a shame for our beautiful sport."

The incident happened early on the 200km stage from Dubai to Al Aqah.

"When we passed a construction site, the sand began blowing and as soon as we went into the crosswinds we were fighting for position, which is always stressful, and Andriy Grivko punched me," Kittel said on his team's website.

"I get that riding in the crosswinds is always tense, but it gives him no right to act like that. He could have hurt my eye.

"In the finale, my mind wasn't 100% on the sprint, but I am happy I have no big injuries and I kept the lead."

'I responded with aggressive action to aggressive action'

Grivko later posted a statement on his Facebook page, in which he claimed Kittel had first pushed both himself and team-mate Dmitriy Gruzdev.

He said that created "a very tense and dangerous situation that could cause not only my fall, but a big crash in the peloton."

Grivko, who also accused Kittel of spitting at him, added: "I responded with aggressive action to aggressive action from the other side.

"Perhaps I got emotional and it has nothing to do with cycling, but in extreme situations, when exists a question of safety, it is difficult to stay calm."

Kittel had won the opening two stages but finished outside the top 10 on day three, as John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo took stage honours.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) also finished outside the top 10 in an untidy sprint finish, with Aqua Blue Sport's Adam Blythe the best-placed Briton in ninth place after his team-mate Mark Christian spent most of the day in the break.

Kittel retained the overall race lead by eight seconds from Dylan Groenewegen of Team Lotto NL-Jumbo.

Marcel Kittel
Kittel posted about the incident on his Twitter feed following the stage

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