Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) was relegated by the commissaire's panel at the conclusion of Stage 11 of the Tour de France after headbutting Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) late in the sprint.
It was a quick decision from the Union Cycliste International commissaires after vision from the overhead pictures of the sprint clearly showed Sagan forcing van Aert aside with his head to create a path late in the sprint for stage honours.
Sagan first passed Clement Venturini (AG2R La Mondiale) close alongside the barriers before trying the same thing with van Aert. The gap between van Aert and the barriers was too tight however, and Sagan used his head on van Aert to clear some more space, shunting the Belgian significantly across the road.
The move allowed him to pass van Aert and claim second on the line, behind Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) but just ahead of green jersey rival Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep). Van Aert was left furiously remonstrating and the camera caught at least one swear word heading in Sagan's direction.
The Slovakian was subsequently relegated by the commissaires, a decision that had a profound impact on the green jersey competition at the time.
Now, months later, Sagan is still unsure that he has any need to apologise to van Aert for the illegal move.
“I don’t think I should apologise to anyone," said Sagan. "Such situations happen in bunch sprints. Everyone knows how hectic things can get.
“After what he said to me in that sprint, I think he should apologise. I thought that five months ago and still do now. Well, I won’t lose my sleep over it.”
Van Aert was clearly mouthing some angry words and gesturing in Sagan's direction immediately after the sprint, though van Aert claimed that was returned in kind at the time by the three-time world champion.
“[I was] so shocked and angry I didn’t use a very nice word," van Aert said on the day. "Afterwards I tried to say to him that it isn’t done like that and I didn’t like what he was doing. The only thing that came back was strong words, so it was hard to have a conversation.”
The pair didn't have any more notable run-ins for the rest of 2020, but with the two possessing similar mixed abilities, it may not be long before they come into direct competition again.