Simon Yates – twin brother and team-mate of Clásica de San Sebastián winner Adam Yates – has said that BMC Racing’s statement relating to how Greg Van Avermaet was ‘robbed’ of the win in the race is ‘disrespectful’ towards Adam’s victory.
Simon underlined that although he thought the incident should never have happened, the phrasing of BMC’s statement implying that Van Avermaet was certain of the win was incorrect.
Yates made the comment via Twitter after American WorldTour team BMC Racing released a statement on Sunday saying that they were exploring “every legal option” after Van Avermaet was knocked off his bike on the final climb of San Sebastián on Saturday by a race motorcycle. The motorcycle fell on top of Van Avermaet’s bike, damaging it.
In their statement, BMC Racing said: “Greg was robbed and the BMC Racing Team was robbed when this happened. I am appalled that this could occur in a WorldTour race.”
Van Avermaet himself, said shortly after the race on Twitter: “I was going to win classics[sic] San Sebastián until the moto run into me and put me on the ground. Game over! Bravo organization, bravo moto!”
Simon Yates wrote: “Just so I’m clear – I’m not saying what happened is correct, it shouldn’t have happened to ANYBODY or in ANY race, but you can’t say things like “we’ve been robbed” and “I was going to win” when the race wasn’t over. It just discredits the victory, and I think it’s quite disrespectful.”
Twitter user Steffi Verheye replied to Yates, saying “I respect your opinion, but Greg didn’t have a fair chance to go for victory either.”, to which Yates replied: “I agree fully!”.
Van Avermaet had attacked on the climb, but a following motorcycle touched his rear wheel and he was sent crashing into a ditch. Adam Yates was following directly behind, and swerved around the crashed motorbike, and went on to win the race – his first WorldTour victory.
The race had been affected by the loss of a TV broadcast aeroplane due to a technical fault, and there was little information on the race situation. Adam Yates himself hadn’t realised that he had won the race as he crossed the line as he didn’t know whether other riders were in front of him.
There have been several high-profile incidences of race vehicles hitting riders in recent months, with a motorcycle rider kicked out of the Tour de France after his bike hit Jakob Fuglsang during the Tour de France.
If BMC Racing does pursue legal action over the incident, it is likely that it may have ramifications on the positioning of motorbikes and other vehicles during professional cycle races in the future.
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