Chinese cyclist in attack expelled

SHANGHAI • A Chinese rider with the local Keyi Look team faces severe punishment after attacking members of the Swiss national cycling team at the Tour of Hainan in extraordinary scenes.

Race organisers on the southern Chinese island said that Wang Xin and his team would never be allowed back following the violent incident that saw police step in and Keyi Look expelled from the event.

Video footage posted online showed a rider, purported to be Wang, beating one staff member of the Swiss team to the ground and kicking him in the head, before attacking another. He then retrieved a tyre pump from a car, with the intent to use it as a weapon.

Police and bystanders rushed in to intervene, as dozens of people looked on in shock.

The Chinese Cycling Association (CCA) said in a statement that it is considering further punishment following a probe into the incident at the end of Stage seven last Friday, a 166.5km ride between the cities of Sanya and Wuzhishan.

It was sparked when the Swiss team car allegedly "had physical contact" with Wang, causing him to fall, the CCA said.

The CCA said it had "a zero-tolerance attitude towards uncivilised behaviour and violence" and alleged that Keyi Look team staff were also involved.

NO FAULT OF OURS

He simply hit the back wheel of another rider and went down. He was obviously embarrassed and took out his frustration on us.

DANILO HONDO, Swiss national cycling team manager, on Wang Xin's meltdown.

Danilo Hondo, the Swiss team manager and allegedly one of Wang's targets, denied their car had struck the Chinese rider.

"We never bumped into him, you can see that from the race video," he told Eurosport.

"He simply hit the back wheel of another rider and went down.

"He was obviously embarrassed and took out his frustration on us.

"We tried to approach him after the race. We waited 45 minutes for him to cross to apologise for any misunderstandings, and to show him and his team that we respect them and meant no harm.

"But both he and his team approached us with anger and everything escalated from there."

Keyi Look and Wang apologised in statements on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, but blamed the Swiss team for knocking him over with their car.

The Tour of Hainan vowed never to allow them back.

"Wang's behaviour is not acceptable and doesn't reflect Chinese cycling," race organisers said in a statement. "Fighting will never be permitted in this event."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2017, with the headline 'Chinese cyclist in attack expelled'. Print Edition | Subscribe