As we saw this week with this rather pathetic slapping match on the Vuelta, the sight of professional road racers coming to blows is generally shocking an unexpected, but should that really be the case? When you have a large group of highly competitive and athletic young men jostling for position in a relatively confined space over monstrous distances, shouldn't it be surprising that it doesn't happen more often?
It's good that it doesn't, of course, but when these lycra-clad titans come to blows, there's generally no holding back. here's some of the most notable clashes we've seen. Of course, there have been plenty more down the years, so let us know about the ones we've left out, especialy if they involve riders closer to home.
First up, a bit of good old-fashioned attempted murder
Who cares who these people are, or where it took place (except the police, we suspect)? We hope it's genuine. It looks pretty genuine.
Rui Costa v. Carlos Barreda
An unsightly scrap from the 2010 Tour de France. Barreda claimed Costa elbowed him during the stage to move his team's sprinter closer to the lead with 20km to go. The pair quickly made up.
These two buckos knocking lumps out of each other
A comfortable points victory for the lad on the left, who throws in a roundhouse punch for added effect. There's also too many swings and misses from the other rider before they're separated by onlookers. From a bygone Vuelta a España, most likely 1995.
Mario Cipollini throws bottles at referee, commentators praise his accuracy
not much more description required, really.
This scrap during the 2014 Tour of Portugal
The presence of bikes on the ground provides and added element of danger to even the most tame confrontations.
Bernard Hinault throws a haymaker at a striking shipyard worker
The Badger was clearly unhappy about this bit of on-course industrial action.
Jeroen Blijlevens fucks his helmet at Bobby Julich
Unfortunately there's no sound on this clip form the last day of the 2000 Tour de france, but one can easily imagine how it went. Rather brilliantly, the title of the video translates as 'friendly tap'. (Fight from 1:00.)
Even though the pair had just finished the Tour, Blijlevens was deemed ejected from the race and his time was wiped from the final classification.
Richard Groenendaal mashes a spectator in the face
We've seen pro-cyclists take exception to comments by fans before, quite recently actually, but not this explicitly. Fuck me.
Michel Zanoli hits Davis Phinney a woeful smack
This entire clip is fantastic. From the 1992 Tour DuPont in the US> begins with Phinney interrupting race leader Greg LeMond to tell him he'd had his nose busted by Dutchman Michel 'Mike' Zanoli. A race official announced Zanoli's disqualification before it cuts to the guilty party, cutting the glummest figure you ever saw, complete with puppy dog eyes and a contrite explanation.
Tragically, Zanoli died of a heart attack in 2003, aged just 35. He had suffered mental health issues.
And finally, this bit of bonus footage from a London road rage incident
Red-trousered gobshite bounces bike of cyclist's head, gets taken down. You're welcome.