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Yves Lampaert collided with a spectator with around 7km to and with a podium place up for grabs, while Florian Sénéchal was also felled by someone on the roadside according to the Belgian team boss.
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Lampaert had been in the winning break until eventual winner Dylan van Baarle attacked with 19km to go. The Belgian was leading Matej Mohorič through the last cobbled sector when he collided with a fan who was clearly standing closer to the action than the rest of the spectators. Lampaert salvaged tenth on the day after picking himself up and changing bikes but the result summed up a difficult classics campaign for Lefevere’s team.
Speaking exclusively to VeloNews as he drove home, the Belgian boss admitted that the events were a disappointment but that little could be done if spectators weren’t willing to respect the riders.
“That’s not the first time or the last time that this will happen,” Lefevere told VeloNews.
“Remember what happened with Tony Martin at the Tour de France last year. Today we had two like this though because, although television didn’t show it, Florian Sénéchal crashed because of a spectator. He was on the wheel of Lamapaert when Wout van Aert made an acceleration and a spectator hit his handlebar. He went over the bars and hit his head. He was a bit unsure where he was for a few seconds and it was impossible to come back. What happened with Yves, everyone saw.”
“The problem is that these people are not reasonable. These riders are suffering for 250km, living for weeks for this race, and one stupid guy blows it up. He sleeps well tonight, no worries but for Yves: this is a disaster.”
“What can you do? With my background from 30 to 40 years ago, I think I would have turned back, taken my bike and hit him on the head, but you can’t do that. He didn’t realize what happened, he was concentrating. Okay if he was riding on the pavement then he could be at fault but this guy was with his phone and then we all saw.”
Lefevere acknowledged that the winner wouldn’t have been any different and that van Baarle was in a different class on the day but the Belgian boss pondered whether a fine should be issued to the spectator who caused Lampaert’s crash.
“In the first case, he might have been fifth and at best third. Van Baarle was the best and I don’t think that he could have beaten van Aert in the sprint. Third or fifth, for sure. He could have a fine of maybe €1,000. He might need a lawyer but that will be it. I hope he doesn’t sleep this evening. Why people want to take selfies or film like that I don’t understand.”
“For us, we’ve lost UCI points, a nice result, and for Yves he’s out of contract at the end of the year. If you do top three or top five in Paris-Roubaix you have better papers to start negotiations with because in two weeks everyone will forget about the crash.”