Salt Lake Criterium became a battleground after the race on Saturday, 16th July. Fists were seen flying in the air, as some riders tried their best to tone down the situation. All their efforts were in vain as Michael Hernandez (Best Buddies Racing built by HGR Construction) and Justin Williams (L39ION of Los Angeles) brawled like toddlers.
The unprofessional behavior did not go unnoticed. Both the riders have to face consequences. On Monday, 18th July, they were fined and are banned from the sport for 72 hours. Best Buddies was charged with $500 while L39ION has to pay a total of $250. They were also disqualified.
View this post on Instagram
The action is taken according to the USA Cycling rule 8A3(a) stating “acts of violence” between riders. The matter is still under investigation and as a consequence both or one of the rider can face further suspension.
The heat got the better of them as the temperature rose to a soaring 130F (54C). The contest was cut down to 60 minutes from 70. There were many crashes due to the unbearable heat. The incident happened on the final lap, Cory Williams touched into Hernandez’s shoulder, forcing him to towards the corner. This caused Hernandez to lose his momentum.
Hernandez was visibly upset as he crossed the finished line and without giving it any further thought, he confronted Corry Williams. What started as a mere exchange of harsh words, quickly escalated to punches. Both of their teammates intervened to take control of the situation.
View this post on Instagram
Corry Williams took to social media to talk about his feelings:
We show up to give our all; we show up to raise the level and create a sense of belonging. It’s unfortunate and troubling that we’re constantly provoked in events with no accountability
He shed light on how everything went down:
Last night at the SLC crit, a rider with a history of aggression towards L39ION made an incredibly dangerous move, diving into turn one and hooking my elbow; causing my front wheel to skip and my foot to come out of my pedals. As I was falling over from the impact, I collided with said rider. Moments later, we took 1-2-3-4-5 in the race respectively
And then came the punches:
The rider who collided with me was waiting to confront us at the finish line, openly sharing with our staff that he was ‘going to fight me’. What should have been a moment of celebration, and could have been an opportunity for him to apologize and move on, turned into us responding to his uncontrolled aggression and resulting in us defending ourselves
The display of such aggressive behavior should not be taken lightly. Whatsoever the reason, the matter should be dealt with swiftly and promptly.
Featured Image Via YouTube/ Jonathan Crain