A CYCLIST was punched in the face during a shocking road rage attack on Monday morning.

The young man, believed to be in his late teens, was repeatedly hit by a driver in Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth at around 11am.

Shocked eyewitnesses said the “absolutely awful” incident had left them shaken.

Julian Mandeley, who runs barbers Uppercutz, said the cyclist was nearly knocked off his bike by the enraged driver.

“The motorist pulled in front of the cyclist so he couldn't get away and then hit him two or three times in the face,” he said.

“He literally cut this young man off at the corner of the road and blocked him off. He nearly took him off his bike doing that. Then he came flying out of the car and started laying into him [the cyclist].”

Tracey Dyer and Steph Rustom, of the Dorset Pantry, said the incident “came out of nowhere”.

“All of a sudden, the driver was just laying into him,” said Tracey.

“He was going really quite mad. The young guy kept very calm though - we could hear him saying, 'Just leave it'.”

Owner Steph said the attack was an “exaggerated response”, and believed the cyclist had attempted to overtake the driver moments before the altercation.

“We were worried because the driver was going mental and trying to push the cyclist into the road,” she said.

“They nearly ended up going into the hedge.”

Tracey said: “It was absolutely awful.”

A spokesperson from Dorset Police said: “Officers were called to a report of road rage in Holdenhurst Road close to Lowther Gardens at 11.05am.

“The cyclist involved in the incident did not want to take this any further.”

She said the car was a Mercedes C20 registered to a man from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.