The day after missing out on a podium place in Paris-Roubaix through disqualification, Davitamon-Lotto's Peter Van Petegem had mixed feelings about ignoring a closed red-light railway passage which resulted in the disqualification, but his team have sent a clear message - they're not happy. The team is now lodging a written protest after examining footage of the closing stages.
"I know but too well that you have to stop when you are in front of a closed red-light railway crossing," said the veteran rider to Belgian newspaper De Morgen. "I myself hit the brakes, but Hoste kept on going, Gusev followed and what does one do in a situation like that but follow? What if Cancellara had been in front of the closed railway passage and lost the race because of it?" he asked.
"I agree we made a mistake, but the organisers are not without fault either," he continued. "I think it's strange that we have to cross a railway so close to the finish. At that moment we were still riding flat out chasing for the victory - Cancellara was not outside of our reach as yet," explained Van Petegem. "To take a decision like that after six hours of racing is hard. On top of that we didn't put anyone in danger; not ourselves, not others."
Davitamon-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant said of Sunday's events, "The set-backs keep coming - we aren't just losing a third placing today, but also points for the ProTour standings. And on top of that we lose Tom Steels for a while because of a broken collarbone," he said.
Van Petegem praised the performance of Cancellara, saying, "Cancellara is a very good rider. Why I wasn't able to react when he made his last acceleration? You know how it goes... one rider is looking at the other and before you really know, the bird has flown. On Carrefour de l'Arbre I made a big effort and we lost Boonen, Flecha and Ballan. I think I can say that I have a strong week behind me - I showed that I'm not worn out yet," said the Belgian veteran.