Remco Evenepoel says he was “crying in his hospital bed” after finding out the UCI had ordered an investigation into the pocket incident that arose in the aftermath of his crash at Il Lombardia.
With the Belgian rider recovering in hospital having miraculously avoided serious injury after crashing over the side of a bridge, a video emerged showing Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati removing something from Evenepoel’s jersey and safely putting it away into his pocket.
After Bramati initially said he had removed food and a radio from Evenepoel’s pocket, Deceuninck – Quick-Step released a statement saying it had been a “small bottle containing nutrition products”.
Before stage one of the 2020 Tour de France the UCI said it had asked the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) to investigate the incident, news which devastated Evenepoel.
“I’m going to be honest. This morning I’ve been crying in my hospital bed in the arms of my father. That is how s**t I felt. I was fighting for my life at that moment. And my team just did the best for me!” he wrote on Twitter.
The Belgian also thanked CCC’s Serge Pauwels, who told Flemish TV the pocket incident was a “storm in a teacup”.
“If you put someone on a stretcher, it just makes sense that those pockets are emptied,” said Pauwels.
There was also speculation that the item removed was some sort of tracking device after Bramati also said he knew Evenepoel had stopped before arriving at the scene because “his data had stopped”.
Only certain data is allowed to be collected and analysed during a race, with UCI President David Lappartient saying it was important to get to the bottom of these specifics.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step say Bramati knew Evenepoel had stopped because of the legal Velon device installed on Evenepoel’s bike.