You would have been hard-pressed to spot it on the day, but an eagle-eyed Belgian journalist has spotted what appears to be a fan tangling with Zdenek Stybar on the Roubaix velodrome at the end of Paris-Roubaix.
The footage shows Stybar riding close to fans at the top of the track, when (at 0-44 in the video above) a fan wearing a white hat sticks out his arms, appearing to catch Stybar’s arm or handlebars, causing the Quick-Step Floors rider to momentarily lose balance.
Journalist Karl Vannieuwkerke unearthed the footage for Sporza‘s ‘Extra Time Koers’ show, saying that Stybar was “lucky to remain upright”, but stopped short of saying that spectator was trying to grab the rider.
However Yves Lampaert, Stybar’s Belgian team-mate who was also on the show, described the spectator’s actions as “conscious” and “deliberate”, going on to say that he was certain that Stybar would have been aware of the contact.
Taking place with more than a lap to go until the finish, the incident didn’t affect the outcome of the race, in which Stybar finished second behind Greg Van Avermaet, but it isn’t the first place the Czech rider has come into contact with a fan at Paris-Roubaix.
In the 2013 edition of the race, Stybar crashed out of the front group after clipping a fan while riding in the gutter of the Carrefour de l’Arbre cobbled sector, opening the door for Fabian Cancellara to win the race.