Patrick Lefevere’s son in court accused of flying helicopter over Paris-Roubaix without permission

The 22-year-old’s lawyer said he ‘made the mistake of obeying his father’

The son of Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere has appeared in court after being accused of flying a helicopter over Paris-Roubaix without permission.

Thomas Lefevere, 22, allegedly flew a rented helicopter above the peloton during the 2018 edition of the Monument, without informing the French air force.

Lefevere appeared before the French correctional court on June 6, according to French newspaper La Voix du Nord.

The report said Thomas Lefevere rented a helicopter in Kortrijk just across the Belgian border to pick up his dad from Bourghelles just outside Roubaix.

He is accused of failing to inform the authorities, as only race organiser or police helicopters may fly above the race.

Lefevere, who denies any wrongdoing, said: “I have always respected the distances. My silence? I didn’t know the radio frequencies.”

His lawyer said: “He made the mistake of obeying his father and he didn’t fly like helicopters during the Vietnam war.”

In December last year Patrick Lefevere, the general manager of the Belgian WorldTour team Deceuninck – Quick-Step, said: “We have never flown above the riders. Far from it. But the world of helicopter men is even smaller than the cycling world.”

The case is due to be concluded on June 20.

Thomas Lefevere’s Twitter account describes him as a mobile software developer, a computer and cybercrime penetration tester and a private helicopter pilot.

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Patrick Lefevere has been at the centre of his own controversy this year, when he suggested a female fan was motivated by money after Quick-Steo rider Iljo Keisse behaved inappropriately towards her.

Keisse was kicked off the race after he was reported to police for miming a sex act while posing for a photograph with the fan.

In an interview after the incident, Lefevere agreed that Keisse had behaved inappropriately but then suggested the fan wanted money.