Team boss Patrick Lefevere of Deceuninck-Quick-Step is furious after Sam Bennett’s declassification in the Vuelta a España. The Irishman initially won the ninth stage, but was later downgraded due to two shoulder pushes in the run-up to the mass sprint.
“What nonsense”, Lefevere grumbled on Thursday Twitter. “Bennett was in the lead-out and a Trek – Segafredo rider wanted to take him out.”
“But we have known the incompetence of the UCI for some time,” Lefevere added cynically. “A lead-out must be respected and Bennett defended his line.”
Bennett initially booked his second stage victory in this Vuelta, but was returned to the results after studying the images by the competition jury. In preparation for the sprint, the thirty-year-old Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider gave a shoulder push twice to the Let Emils Liepins of Trek-Segafredo.
For the users of the app, tap the tweet for a video of Sam Bennett’s shoulder push.
Ackermann: ‘Bennett’s action was not fair’
Due to Bennett’s declassification, the stage victory went to Pascal Ackermann, who crossed the finish line second. The German agreed with the jury’s decision.
“I saw the images after the finish and Bennett’s action was not fair”, concluded Ackermann. “After all the crashes in the last few weeks, we have to take care of each other a bit. If there is no hole to dive in, you just have to keep your legs still. I’m sorry for Sam, but we just have to race safer.”
Earlier this month, Ackermann was disqualified from the Scheldeprijs. The 26-year-old BORA-hansgrohe rider, who finished second behind Caleb Ewan in the Belgian one-day race, was penalized for causing a serious crash in the bunch sprint.