Dutchman apologises for punching Preben Van Hecke

LottoNL-Jumbo rider Lars Boom has issued an apology after he was disqualified from the Tour of Norway for punching Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).

The incident took place on stage two of the Tour of Norway on Thursday with video footage showing the clash between the two riders taking place at the head of the bunch midway through the stage.

Video of the incident does not give much clue as to the cause of the clash, with Boom riding behind Van Hecke before the Dutchman’s right shoe comes out of his pedal.

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Boom then rides up alongside Van Hecke and the two appear to exchange a few words. After this exchange Boom lashes out at the Belgian rider before riding off.

Unsurprisingly the race commissaires took a dim view of Boom’s actions, disqualifying him from the race.

You cannot punch a competitor and especially not in the face,” one commissaire told Norwegian television. “It’s not good for the reputation of cycling and he cannot take the law into his own hands. So we have taken the decision to disqualify him from the race.”

Boom later apologised for his actions after LottoNL-Jumbo had said that his action was “unacceptable” and that the matter would be dealt with internally.

This isn’t the first time that Boom has found himself at the centre of controversy for his action in a race. In 2017, Boom celebrated winning a stage of the BinckBank Tour with an obscene gesture as he crossed the line in a message to his team management for not selection him for the Vuelta a España.

Thursday’s Tour of Norway stage two was won by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) who got the better of compatriot Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy) in Asker.

The race continues on Friday with a 175km stage to Sarpsborg.