Cyclist sorry for slapping collision-causing fan

Cyclist Miguel Angel Lopez has apologized for smacking a fan who knocked him from his bicycle during Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Giro d’Italia.

Lopez had hoped to compete for a stage win but was tripped by a fan who was running alongside encouraging him, but collided with another spectator and fell onto the cyclist. As Lopez got back up, he slapped the fan.

“I’m sorry for what happened; I was full of pure adrenaline. But there needs to be more respect for the cyclists,” Lopez said.

Lopez was still visibly furious when he crossed the line 18th, 1 minute, 49 seconds behind stage winner Pello Bilbao.

He isn’t the first cyclist to fight back at the thought that a spectator crossed the line. In 2011, Alberto Contador gave a small right jab to the face of a fan wearing scrubs who came after the Spaniard with a stethoscope — an apparent mockery of Contador’s ties to doping allegations. During the 2009 Tour of California, Lance Armstrong shoved away a fan who came at him with two giant plastic needles. And in the 2016 Tour de France, Chris Froome punched a spectator in the face after the wig-wearing man got too close for the then-two-time Tour winner.

Another incident with a fan Saturday also cost Primoz Roglic. The Slovenian received a push from a spectator and didn’t attempt to push him away and was penalized 10 seconds by the race jury. He ultimately finished 14th in the stage.

Ecuadorian cyclist Richard Carapaz took a huge step toward winning the Giro d’Italia as he preserved his overall lead of 1:54 over Nibali.

The Giro D’Italia ends with a final time trial in Verona on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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