Lotto-Soudal ban alcohol for riders and staff

‘Drinking coffee together is also fun,’ says the team CEO

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lotto-Soudal have banned alcohol for staff and riders during races and training camps.

The team already enforced prohibition for riders but has now been extended to staff, but drinks will still be allowed during special occasions likes birthdays and victories.

Team CEO John Lelangue says the ban has nothing to due with an alcohol-related incident on the eve of the Vuelta a España last season, which resulted in performance manager Kevin De Weert being suspended.

Lelangue told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: “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.”

Lelangue said he has made rules stricter because team staff may need to drive a car at any time and to preserve the team’s image, as staff and riders wear clothes incorporating the team sponsors.

Lotto-Soudal suspended their sports director and performance manager De Weert for the duration of the Vuelta a España following an incident involving alcohol on the eve of the race.

The team later reinstated De Weert, but he was removed from his DS duties and will focus on his job as a performance manager.

Lelangue added: “This measure also 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.”

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Anyone breaking the rules will not be dismissed, but they will be given a negative mark against their name, which could impact any contract extensions.

The team will allow exceptions to the rule, such as after a rider wins a race, a birthday or a reception, where a glass of champagne will be allowed.

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