Victor Campenaerts may have provided the Giro d'Italia with a feel-good non-race-related story, but his romantic stunt at Tuesday's time trial hasn't proved universally popular. After being fined by the UCI, his actions have been branded 'unprofessional' by his LottoNL-Jumbo team.
Campenaerts is the Belgian time trial champion but he was told to soft-pedal around Tuesday's course to save himself for domestique duties for team leader Steven Kruijswijk, and he took the opportunity to make a bid for love, unzipping his skinsuit to reveal the words 'Carlien daten?' - Carlien, date? - written across his chest.
The apple of his eye, Carlien Cavens, was soon tracked down by Belgian media and Campenaerts had his date in the bag, though the UCI hit him with a fine of 100 Swiss Frances for 'damaging the image of cycling'.
The LottoNL-Jumbo team made no mention of the stunt on their social media accounts, and it turns out they, too, weren't best impressed.
"That was not professional," general manager Richard Plugge told the Telegraaf newspaper.
"He should have ridden the time trial like any other rider, with the brakes on, because the next day he had to work for Steven Kruijswijk. That's why we took him to the Giro - it's not a surprise."
It doesn't seem, however, that Campenaerts will be formally punished by the team.
Directeur sportif Addy Engels also said Campenaerts' actions showed a lack of respect, but adopted a more forgiving tone.
"It was youthful folly, where respect for the Belgian colours and the sponsors on the jersey was forgotten," he said. "But you know what they say, love makes you blind."
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