By Brecht Decaluwé
The organizers in Sint-Niklaas didn’t have a contract with Maxime Lefèbvre (Josan) and knowing that he missed a doping control in Middelkerke last week (as reported earlier), many people were amazed to see the French rider at the start. Peter Van den Abeelem, the UCI representative for cyclo-cross, explained to Cyclingnews that the organization had fulfilled all their duties in Middelkerke, and that Lefèbvre's failure to show for anti-doping control was his own fault.
“I was there when the speaker announced the names in Dutch. I was checking the results and saw that many foreigners were in the top 10; I suggested to the speaker that he should announce it as well in some other languages, which he did,” Van den Abeele said, “the names were also listed where it needed to be listed.
Lefèbvre’s defense wasn’t impressive, “I didn’t see or hear anything,” he claims. “ Now I’ll get a new punishment and that will probably mean the end of my career,” Lefèbvre said on Sporza. After the race in Sint Niklaas, it took a while before Lefèbvre showed up for the doping control but he eventually turned up.
Lefèbvre continues to race despite the prospect of a career-ending sanction, and if he is sanctioned, he'll also lose any prize money he's gathered since Middelkerke. Still, he plans to continue on until forced to stop. “I’ll race again in Surhuisterveen [where he finished sixth just before Jonathan Page (Morgan Blue)] and maybe as well in Otegem [on Monday January, 8th]”, Lefèbvre said.
His start in Monday's race is by no means secure, since Van den Abeele wasn’t happy with the current Lefèbvre-circus. “I’m going to warn the office in Aigle that they need to take care of this case as soon as possible,” the UCI-representative said.