Lotto-Soudal suspend performance manager after ‘incident’ on eve of Vuelta a España 2019

The Belgian team said the former pro already had an earlier warning

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Lotto-Soudal has suspended performance manager Kevin De Weert following an “incident” on the eve of the Vuelta a España 2019.

De Weert, a former professional rider, has been suspended with immediate effect and for the remainder of the race.

Lotto-Soudal said the decision was taken after De Weert was given an earlier warning, but the team has not revealed the nature of the incident or further details around why the 37-year-old was suspended.

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A statement from the Belgian WorldTour team, released on Wednesday (August 28), said: “Following an incident at the eve of La Vuelta and after an earlier warning, the management of the Lotto-Soudal cycling team has decided to temporarily suspend its performance manager, Kevin De Weert, with immediate effect, for the remainder of the duration of the race.”

The statement added: “The team management will not make any further comments until a conversation between general manager John Lelangue and Kevin De Weert takes place, after his return in Belgium.”

Belgian De Weert was a pro from 2003 until 2015 when he retired.

During his career he rode for Rabobank and Quick-Step before joining LottoNL-Jumbo for his final season, taking some impressive results including 12th overall at the 2011 Tour de France, but never scoring a professional win.

De Weert worked as Belgian national coach after his retirement, joining Lotto-Soudal as performance manager at the end of last season.

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Lotto-Soudal is pursuing stage glory at the Vuelta a España 2019, with breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt, riding alongside the likes of 2018 Vuelta stage winner Jelle Wallays, Tosh Van Der Sander, Sander Armée and Carl Fredrik Hagen.

The team has been active in the race, with Armée making the break on stage two, De Gendt attempting an attack on stage three and Wallays joining the escape on stage four, but has yet to score a win.