Rowe, Martin Expelled From Tour de France

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Team Ineos suffered a blow to their Tour de France defence bid when Luke Rowe was thrown off the race on Wednesday for his part in a spat with Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin, who was also expelled.

In the official results given out by the race's organisers the pair were listed on the 'Hors Cours' (out of the race) section after stage 17.

The duo were involved in an altercation as the two teams jostled for position 15km from the end of the 200km run to Gap with Welshman Rowe appearing to hit Martin in the face.

Overall race leader Julian Alaphilippe said the pair were nervous because they felt the yellow jersey wearer would attack on the climb.

Both Ineos, with reigning champion Geraint Thomas in second place, and Jumbo with Steven Kruijswijk in third were keen to be on hand in that eventuality.

Tour winners generally complete the three weeks with a full team, with depleted outfits rarely gaining the big prizes at the Champs-Elysees.

"To come here with my mates on this team, I just feel like I've let them down," Rowe said.

"But it feels harsh, it is pretty hard. We were both very nervous," he added.

"They have decided to expel Tony and Luke from the race wich feels incredibly harsh," said Ineos principal Dave Brailsford.

"A yellow card would have been merited but a red card feels a bit silly to me," he added.

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