Fleche Wallonne riders face criminal littering charges

Three riders observed throwing away food wrappings and bottles

A Belgian environmental group has filed a criminal complaint against three riders for throwing away their rubbish and bidons during last week's Flèche Wallonne.

The charges were filed in the court at Namur by La Coalition Nature. It said that it saw Benjamin Gourgue (Landbouwkrediet), Christopher Froome (Sky) and Blel Kadri (Ag2R) throwing away various packages, according to the Belgian website actu24.be

La Coalition Nature claims the riders have criminally violated Walloonian law, which says, "Any person who holds waste is required to provide or make the management conditions to limit the negative effects on water, air, soil, flora, fauna, to avoid inconvenience in general, without adversely affecting the environment or to human health."

Froome admitted to Cyclingnews that had heard that he may face charges: “It’s funny that they’ve singled out three riders and not the whole peloton. I can see their point and can only apologise but it’s difficult to find a solution to the problem,” he told Cyclingnews.

“I respect the environment and we’re starting to use bio-degradable bottles at Team Sky but perhaps the race organisers should come up with some kind of solution such as drop points for rubbish.”

Landbouwkrediet team manager Gerard Bulens wasn't too concerned. "I understand that we must think about the environment. And like all other teams, we ask our riders to be alert and keep the packaging in their pockets.”

As for water bottles, Bulens said he would be surprised to see any left along the way after a race. The bottles are highly prized souvenirs for fans. “There are serious collectors,” he said. “A cycle race is an exceptional event. I am agree that we should think about the environment, but we must not get caught up in the ridiculous. "

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