Philippe Gilbert fined for riding outside during coronavirus lockdown

The Monument winner said he wanted to ‘get a breath of fresh air'

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Monument winner Philippe Gilbert has been fined breaking Monaco’s coronavirus lockdown rules and riding outside.

The Lotto-Soudal rider said he had intended to ride laps of an 11-kilometre loop, but was issued a €100 (£87) fine for violating the quarantine rules.

Authorities in Monaco and France have banned outdoor riding in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, with the dozens of pros who live in the area forced to find other ways to train.

Philippe Gilbert, winner five Monuments including the 2019 Paris-Roubaix, told broadcaster Monaco Info: “We had found an 11km lap that we did three or four times in a row and that allowed us to get some fresh air for an hour.

“At one point, we were arrested and I was fined €100. By virtue of our status, there is no free pass. Every citizen is equal before the law. Just because I won Paris-Roubaix last year doesn’t mean I have more rights than another person.

“As a public figure, we must lead by example.”

Monaco is a popular location for pro cyclists to set up a base, but pros are unable to train outdoors during the coronavirus crisis, unlike in England or Gilbert’s native Belgium, where residents are still allowed to exercise outside.

Chris Froome is among those having to find other ways to train, as he has taken to training on indoor platform Zwift.

Gilbert’s plans for 2020 were derailed early by coronavirus, as he is chasing victory in Milan-San Remo to complete the full set of Monument victories.

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But San Remo was one of the first races cancelled as Covid-19 took hold in Italy.

The UCI has since announced the Monuments will be rescheduled for later in the season meaning Gilbert, now 37, could still complete his career goal this year.

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Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.