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Lotto-Soudal riders and staff banned from drinking alcohol

Joe Robinson
14 Jan 2020

Special exceptions will be made for victories and birthdays as Lelangue says 'drinking coffee is also nice'

Having a glass of wine or bottle of beer after a stressful day's work is something most of us do, including professional bike riders, mechanics and managers.

However, those days are now over for those at Lotto-Soudal as the riders and staff have been banned from drinking alcohol while representing the team, except a single glass of champagne for birthdays and victories.

This rather extreme measure has been implemented as a 'code of conduct' that everyone from star sprinter Caleb Ewan to bus driver Eric de Wulf will be made to follow.

Talking to Het Nieuwsblad, team CEO John Lelangue explained: 'This measure applies in many companies. It is part of the way of living together. The majority of staff also thought this was a good idea.

'We remain a friendly team, but without alcohol. Drinking coffee together is also nice. That punishment is also black and white in the code of conduct, which everyone signed, but remains internal.'

There will be exceptions made, however, with it being strict tradition across cycling that wins and momentous occasions are celebrated with the obligatory glass of champagne, something Lelangue is happy to let continue.

'At special events such as a victory, a birthday or a reception, a glass of champagne can, of course, be added. It is up to the team leader during the race to judge when there is a special event.'

At the tail end of last year's Vuelta a Espana, coach Kevin De Weert was sent home and handed a month-long suspension for what's believed to be an alcohol-related incident.

However, Lelangue denies that this incident has spurred the team's decision to implement the alcohol ban.

'It has absolutely nothing to do with that incident. We already had a code of conduct. I have now adjusted it a bit for safety reasons. Almost every staff member has to drive a car at certain times of the day. Then it seems better to ban alcohol.'

This could also spell the end of Australian Adam Hansen's tradition of sharing a beer with fans as he cycles up Alpe d'Huez during the Tour de France. However, we hope management will see this worthy of an exception.

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