Blazin' Saddles

Cyclists get into huge punch-up at the end of four-hour stage

Blazin' Saddles

Professional cycling is without a doubt one of the most physically draining sports on the planet. And never is it more so than in southern Europe in the height of summer, with temperatures well into the 30s as riders thrash their way through stages of over 100 miles each, day after day.

So you'd think that when they get to the end of one of those stages, they'd be fit only to collapse into a heap. But it seems that just isn't the case for Spain's Vicente de Mateus and Italy's Enrico Rossi.

The duo were jostling for position in the closing kilometres of the 100-mile sixth stage of the Volta a Portugal from Oliveira do Bairro to Viseu on Tuesday when they came together and crashed.

But rather than crawl off to lick their wounds, the two instead got into a huge punch-up - one which was captured by TV cameras covering the race, and which subsequently made them famous across the globe.

Rossi, who rides for the Christina Watches-Kuma team, blamed Louletano-Dunas Douradas rider Mateus for the tangle.

"I was going over the line and then he ran into me, so we overturned," Rossi explained.

"Then he stood and shouted at me so I hit him."

Can't really argue with that reasoning, even if we wouldn't condone it - and Rossi's team boss Bo Hamburger (honestly) claimed it was nothing to get into a lather about.

"The adrenaline was running high and they collided at high speed," Hamburger said.

"If you put yourself in his position then you can understand why he hit him."

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