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Deceuninck-QuickStep riders skip podium presentation at Vuelta a San Juan

Joe Robinson
31 Jan 2019

Riders and sports director fined although claim incident unrelated to Keisse disqualification

Deceuninck-QuickStep riders and staff have been fined by the UCI for not attending the podium ceremony at the conclusion of Stage 4 at the Vuelta a San Juan. This comes a day after Iljo Keisse was ejected from the race for miming a sexual act in a photo with a fan.

Race leader Julian Alaphilippe, leader of the youth classification Remco Evenepoel and third-place finisher on the stage Alvaro Hodeg all failed to attend the podium ceremonies at the end of the stage, opting to stay in the team bus, with the team officially citing fatigue for the decision.

The UCI and race organisers took action at this absence, fining all three riders and team sports director Davide Bramati 500 Swiss Francs (approx £383). Alaphilippe and Hodeg have also been docked three UCI points.

The team have cited that their decision not to attend the podium ceremonies or the post-race press conference was not triggered by Keisse's disqualification from the race, however it does add to the controversy the team have experienced while in Argentina. 

Keisse was fined 3,000 pesos, interviewed by police, forced to apologise and ejected from the race following a lewd pose behind an 18-year-old waitress prior to the race start, saying in his apology that he 'would like to apologise, especially to this lady. I made a mistake, I realise that. It will not happen again.'

While the rider took the punishment, team manager Patrick Lefevere threatened to pull the team from the race telling Het Laatste Nieuws that, 'if it depended on me, the whole team would leave the Vuelta a San Juan. We are reviewing what the UCI regulations say, and then we will quickly decide whether we will start or not.'

He then went further claiming the waitress's complaints to the police were motivated by money. 

'Of course, I am not happy with the pose of Iljo. That is wrong, and he knows that himself. But he paid a €70 fine and the police closed the case. And yet that woman continues to make something of it. She will want money, right?'

These comments from Lefevere came after the waitress had already told Spanish newspaper Marca that she was not motivated by financial gain and that she 'did not report him for money, but for dignity.'

The Vuelta a San Juan enters a rest day today, rare for a week stage race, before reconvening for Stage 5 from San Martin to Alto Colorado on Friday with Alaphilippe looking to defend his race lead on the stage's summit finish.