Chinese rider banned 2 years after attacking Swiss team staff

The incident at the Tour of Hainan saw Wang Xin physically attack members of the Swiss national team after stage 7.

SHANGHAI (AFP) — The Chinese rider kicked out of the Tour of Hainan for attacking Swiss national team staff has been banned from professional cycling for two years, Chinese cycling chiefs said.

Wang Xin, his Keyi Look team, and three of its staff members were punished for what the Chinese Cycling Association (CCA) called the “violent incident.”

Race organizers on the southern Chinese island had already said that Wang and Keyi Look would never be allowed back at the event, and now the CCA has taken further action following the extraordinary scenes that saw Wang at one point grab a bicycle pump as a weapon.

Video footage posted online shows Wang beating one staff member of the Swiss team to the ground and kicking him in the head. He then attacked another staffer following the tour’s seventh stage last Friday.

Police and bystanders rushed in to intervene as dozens of people looked on in shock.

Wang, who later apologized on social media, was enraged after accusing the Swiss team’s car of knocking him off his bike during the stage between Sanya and Wuzhishan, a claim that was denied by Swiss team manager Danilo Hondo.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, the CCA said that Wang and the Swiss car had bumped one another, causing him to fall. But the governing body said that was no excuse for Wang’s reaction, and it excluded him from all cycling for six months, with a two-year ban from professional-level cycling.

Keyi Look is barred from all events until 2019 and the CCA also dished out punishments of varying degrees to team manager Han Feng, doctor Zhang Ya, and masseur Fan Yunlong.

Han was not involved in the attack, the CCA said, but it accused him of failing to control his employees.