Jumbo-Visma files complaint against Spanish police, says soigneur suffered concussion

Other teams reported to have complained previously over police actions at the Vuelta a España.

Photo: Europa Press via Getty Images

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The Jumbo-Visma team of race leader Sepp Kuss has filed an official complaint with the organizers of the Vuelta a España over the actions of the Spanish police, apparently the latest in a number of squads to do so this month.

On Thursday Jumbo-Visma soigneur Kevin Nyssen was filmed being taken to the ground by members of the Spanish Guardia Civil. He angrily remonstrated with them, and was ultimately led away but not arrested.

According to HLN, Nyssen suffered a severe concussion during the incident. The Belgian publication said that the matter arose when Spanish police surrounded Jumbo-Visma rider Jonas Vingegaard and the rider then received a slap from a bystander.

HLN states that this led to Nyssen pushing a police officer, then being thrown aggressively to the ground.

Longer footage released afterward by the Spanish police showed Vingegaard being jolted, then Nyssen losing his temper and shoving a police officer. The police said that this video provided important context missing from a shorter video previous released. However the team feels that the actions of the Guardia Civil were not unacceptable and has lodged that complaint.

The same footage does show Vingegaard being jolted at the start of the video, although the video doesn’t make clear who pushed him.

Another Jumbo-Visma soigneur Richard Kremers has said that Nyssen’s memory has been affected by the blow.

“He is doing quite well, but he still needs to take it easy. He can’t remember much anymore. We are being treated like hooligans.”

That sentiment is echoed by Remco Evenepoel’s soigneur David Geeroms, who was himself injured on Thursday.

“We were aggressively pushed aside, with all the consequences that entailed,” he told HLN. “They pushed us behind the crowd barriers, but of course we can’t get to the riders there. It was bizarre and ‘not done.’ I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I suffered a sprain in my arm.”

He said there is a lack of understanding of the role of a soigneur. “We just do our job,” he said. “The police think we are there to hinder the riders. They don’t know what we do.”

He said the team did not file an official complaint, but did speak with the race organizers and also the Jumbo-Visma team.

The Cofidis team was reportedly also affected, with a soigneur tackled and led away after enthusiastically celebrating Jesus Herrada’s win on stage 11. Video footage shows the soigneur in the middle of the road after the line, waving his arms as the rider approaches the finish, and ignoring another individual asking him to move back to the sidelines.

HLN states that more than one complaint has been filed by teams during the course of the Vuelta.

The Spanish police’s response is not yet clear.

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