Mark Renshaw was ejected from the Tour de France on Thursday after head-butting New Zealand cyclist Julian Dean. In the final sprint of the competition's 11th stage, Renshaw launched his head at his competitor three times in a particularly aggressive maneuver.
Even though Renshaw was thrown out, the tactic helped teammate Mark Cavendish win the stage.
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"This is cycling, it's not wrestling," said course director Jean-Francois Pescheux, adding that the violation was "flagrant" and removing Renshaw from the race was necessary.
"There are rules to respect," Pescheux said.
Cavendish rushed to the defense of Renshaw, claiming Dean attempted to elbow him.
"Mark Renshaw fought to prevent the lane from being closed on him," Cavendish said through a translator on French TV. "He didn't want to be blocked."
Scroll down for video of the incident.