Patrick Lefevere has decried the influence of television motorbikes on races in the wake of Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. The Quick-Step manager complained that the escapees at Amstel were able to shelter in the slipstream of the motorbikes while his rider Pieter Serry was leading the chase on the front of the group of favourites.
Michael Valgren (Astana) won Amstel Gold Race after escaping in the closing kilometres in the company of Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott). Quick-Step’s best finisher was Julian Alaphilippe, who was prominent in the finale but had to settle for seventh.
“I don’t want to come across as a bad loser, but the role of motorbikes in the race is really scandalous,” Lefevere said, according to La Dernière Heure. “That applies to other races as well as this edition of Amstel. While Pieter Serry was making a maximum effort at the front of the group of favourites, the break was continuing to gain ground because of the slipstream of the motorbikes.
“When the gap drops under 20 seconds, they should drop behind the riders in front. I’m going to write a letter on this matter to the UCI president David Lappartient because that cannot continue. It’s the motorbikes that are deciding the race…”
Quick-Step Floors dominated the cobbled Classics campaign, winning the Tour of Flanders, E3 Harelbeke, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Scheldeprijs, and they boast a powerful line-up for this week’s Ardennes Classics to boot. Lefevere had no criticism for his charges in the aftermath of Amstel Gold Race.
“It’s the first time in a few weeks that we haven’t been on the podium of a Classic,” Lefevere said. “Alaphilippe made an effort twice behind [Alejandro] Valverde, and that emptied his legs. Philippe [Gilbert] was just a bit short. As is often the case in this race, it comes down a little bit to who keeps their cool for the longest. It’s very difficult to escape the control that some teams put on the race.”
Alaphilippe and Gilbert will lead Quick-Step Floors’ challenge at Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, where Alejandro Valverde is seeking a remarkable fifth consecutive victory in the midweek Classic.