Keisse racing again in Tour Colombia

Embattled Deceuninck-QuickStep rider returns to the peloton after organisers removed him from Vuelta a San Juan

Iljo Keisse is back in the saddle at the Tour Colombia 2.1.

The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider was thrown out of the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina last month after a local waitress filed a police complaint against the Belgian, alleging he pressed his crotch against her while feigning a sexual act as she posed for a photo with him and his teammates.

Organisers disqualified Keisse after the stage 3 time trial, and it was rumoured he had flown home and would not race again until March. However, Keisse was seen training in Colombia with the team on Sunday, and he was part of the team presentation in a packed Atanasio Girardot stadium in downtown Medellin later that same day.

Although the official start list for Tour Colombia 2.1 has not yet been released, Keisse has been on the provisional roster that was released January 23, just days before he was disqualified from San Juan. Team representatives were not immediately available for comment.

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The issue in Argentina ignited a firestorm on social media. Keisse initially accepted responsibility and apologised for the incident after being fined €70 by the local constabulary, but team manager Patrick Lefevere then threw gas on the fire by suggesting he would remove his entire team from the race when Keisse was disqualified and that the woman involved was seeking money. Keisse's father suggested to media that his son should sue the woman.

Once sponsors Deceuninck and Specialized got involved, however, Lefevere quickly backed off his statements, and the team put out another apology for their "events over the past few days." The team also said the entire Deceuninck-QuickStep organisation would undergo "specific conduct training protocols." With Keisse out of the race and a proper apology in place, the issue died down.

 

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