Etixx boss says cars and motorbikes helped Froome and Sagan in breakaway

Patrick Lefevere complains that the motorbikes and organisation car in front of the break on stage 11 of the Tour de France aided the winning group

Etixx-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere described the positioning of motorbikes and an organiser's car in front of the decisive four-man break on stage 11 of the Tour de France as 'outrageous'.

On paper, the stage looked to be one for the sprinters, with Etixx's Marcel Kittel looking for his second victory of the race, but in reality crosswinds and a late attack by Tinkoff and Team Sky riders ended the chances for the fast men.

But Lefevere believes Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Peter Sagan and Macej Bodnar were aided by the motorbikes and car in front of them as the peloton couldn't close the gap.

"Why did those ten motorbikes and the red car of the Tour organisation get so close to the four?" he said, quoted in Het Laatste Nieuws.

"The whole peloton sat on their gums, but if they try to ride around in hot pursuit it should be at least fair. And sorry, that was not the case.

"The red car should [set a] good example and it was barely 50 metres for the leading group.

"I have ridden a bicycle a bit myself and I can tell you: that soon saves 20 kph. Certainly with such a four strong riders. I find no excuses, they certainly deserved it. But that behavior of the engines was outrageous."

Lefevere had a similar complaint when Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) almost soloed to victory in the final kilometres of Dwars door Vlaanderen in March. People on Twitter pointed out that Etixx had benefited from a similar situation in the same race when Niki Terpstra won in 2014.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.