Rowe expulsion hurts Ger's chances; CYCLING.
GERAINT Thomas' hopes of defending his Tour de France title suffered a blow as his road captain Luke Rowe was thrown out of the race ahead of three decisive mountain stages.
Rowe was expelled along with Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin after the pair clashed during stage 17 from Pont du Gard to Gap.
Video footage showed Martin almost riding Rowe off the road with Rowe appearing to grab the German. It was enough for commissaires to send both riders home and fine them 1000 Swiss francs each.
The decision could have huge ramifications in the battle for the yellow jersey, with Rowe a key rider for defending champion Thomas and Martin a big part of Steven Kruijswijk's team.
Thomas sits second overall, 95 seconds behind Julian Alaphilippe, with Kruijswijk in third, a further 12 seconds back.
Matteo Trentin won stage 17 from the breakaway to give his Mitchelton-Scott team their fourth success of the Tour.