A television presenter has been sentenced to two years in prison and forced to pay substantial damages to Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider Iljo Keisse.
A court in Antwerp this week found Melvin Klooster guilty of seriously injuring Keisse outside a nightclub in October 2017, after the track specialist intervened after witnessing a fight.
Keisse was knocked unconscious after a hit to the head from Klooster and also fell on shards of glass which severed tendons in his finger.
He was forced to undergo surgery and missed months of competition, including that year’s Ghent Six-Day, which Keisse has won seven times.
A long-running trial was finally brought to a close earlier this week and Klooster, who is also an actor, was sentenced to two years in prison, one of which is suspended, and ordered to pay a fine of €1,600.
According to Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab) He was also instructed to pay Keisse €36,384 for loss of earnings, less than the €90,000 in compensation that the cyclist had requested.
The incident happened at around 5am on October 11, 2017, when Keisse visited the Roxy nightclub in Antwerp with his Quick-Step Floors team-mates.
Upon leaving the nightclub, Keisse and his colleagues saw a brawl outside and went over to break up the incident, thinking that it was their team-mate Fernando Gaviria who was being punched by two men.
When Keisse went to the scene to aid the victim, he was knocked to the ground by a punch and briefly lost consciousness.
Keisse’s team-mates, including Tim Declercq and Yves Lampaert, identified Klooster as throwing the punch having spoken to him during the night.
Lampaert testified in court in April, saying that “I recognised Melvin. It all happened very quickly, but I saw him waving his arm and then saw Iljo’s knees give way. He hit his temple.”
Klooster has always denied that it was he who hit Keisse, but earlier this week the court in Antwerp found the Dutch presenter, 38, guilty of the incident.
Keisse has not spoken publicly about the incident, and at the time his team made no mention of the fight, reporting that Keisse had undergone surgery but not specifying why.
Now aged 38, Keisse recently rode the Giro d’Italia and is currently taking a mid-season break before returning to competition in August.
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