Bad idea: Five guys not to punch in the peloton

Grivko punched Kittel at Dubai Tour, which got us thinking: Who are the worst guys to start a fight with in the peloton?

When we heard that Andrei Grivko had punched Marcel Kittel in stage 3 of Dubai Tour, it immediately struck us as a bad idea, on so many levels. But for starters, Kittel, at six-foot-two, 190 pounds, towers over Grivko. Even the German sprinter was quick to point out that the Ukranian pugilist was out of his weight class.

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Yep, that is a bad photoshop of Ivan Drago’s upper body, but Kittel’s point is convincing. As we mentioned in our previous column about cyclists punching spectators, we never condone violence, and furthermore, we don’t want to see any of cycling’s stars get into hot water if they punch the wrong rider. So, here’s a quick list of some pros you definitely do not want to pick a fight with.

Esteban Chaves

At first, you might think that Chaves, a young, pint-sized Colombian, would be a pushover. Here’s the problem: His teammates are big, swarthy Australians who are intensely loyal to their little climber, because he’s extra-nice to them at the races. Plus, my god, just look at Mitch Docker’s mullet/mustache combination. Maybe this is a bit of hyperbole, but essentially, this is what happens when you mess with Chaves in the peloton:

Nacer Bouhanni

This one is obvious. Bouhanni is a known boxing enthusiast, he broke his hand in a fight with some rowdy hotel guests before the Tour de France (and then couldn’t race), and sometimes, he puts his rivals into the barriers. But did you know that he’s also got a brother, Rayane, who is willing to drop the gloves and tangle if his brother needs backup?

Tom-Jelte Slagter

The Dutchman’s nickname is “The Butcher” — pretty ominous, no? Okay, so maybe that’s just a rough translation of his last name, from Dutch to English. But don’t you think it’s also a little scary that one of his Cannondale – Drapac teammates has a special mount for a hatchet on his bike?

Alexander Kristoff

The peloton has a number of top Norwegians, but Kristoff seems to own the whole Viking image more than any other. Just wait until SRAM releases a new eTap broadsword to match this Zipp disc wheel from last season!

Nairo Quintana

Yep, we’ve got another Colombian climber on this list. Sure, he has back-up in big, tough teammates like Rory Sutherland, who enjoys motoring on the front of the peloton for hours on end, but Quintana can stand up for himself. In a story last year, Andrew Hood recounted a specific incident when Quintana proved to be a fighter (literally):

During one race early in his debut season, a big classic specialist was grappling with Quintana for position. Quintana responded by punching him in the gut. Team Movistar director Eusebio Unzué laughs at such stories, and says it’s the kind of mental and physical fortitude that Quintana needed to overcome the hurdles of his childhood.

Who is missing from this list? Tweet your favorite tough guys (or gals) at us.