The Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss said the he considered pulling the team from the race over the incident
Team boss Patrick Lefevere suggested the female fan who reported Iljo Keisse to police was motivated by money after the rider was kicked off the race.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Keisse was ejected from the Argentinian stage race over inappropriate behaviour towards a female fan.
Lefevere has given an interview to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws in which he says he considered pulling the team from the race in protest.
He said: “Of course I’m not happy with Iljo’s pose. That is wrong, he knows that himself.
“But he paid a $70 fine and the police closed the case.
“And yet that woman continues to make a game about it.
“She will want money, right?”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step did start stage four of the race.
The team currently top the general classification, after Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe won stages two and three to take the leader’s jersey.
Keisse has been disqualified from the race by the organisers after a female fan reported him to police for miming a sex act while posing for a photograph.
The incident happened on Friday, while Keisse and team-mates were out on a training ride.
Lefevere added: “If it was up to me, the team would collectively leave the Vuelta a San Juan.
“We are reviewing what the UCI regulations say and we will shortly decided whether we will start or not.”
Keisse and his Quick-Step team-mates were out on a training riding in Argentina on Friday (January 25) when the woman asked for a picture.
The photo shows the woman posing with the group of riders from the Belgian WorldTour team, with one raising two fingers above her head while Keisse is posed behind her with one arm raised behind his head.
Speaking to Argentinian newspaper Telesol Diario, the fan said she felt “disrespected and worthless.”
Keisse apologised on Wednesday, saying he spoke with police on Monday after the fan made a complaint and that the case was closed.
He said: “I would like to apologise, especially to this lady.
“I made a mistake, I realise that. This will not happen again.”