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by Shane Stokes
August 2, 2015
One day after its rider Greg Van Avermaet had his chance of victory in the Clasica San Sebastian taken away when he was run over by a motorbike , his BMC Racing Team has said that it is exploring legal action over the matter.
Van Avermaet had attacked in the final of the WorldTour race and was clear on the final climb. However what appeared possible to be a solo run to the line was ended when a motorbike behind him hit his back wheel and caused him to fall.
After the incident Orica GreenEdge rider Adam Yates went on to win the race.
The incident follows a very bad crash in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco earlier this year when another BMC Racing Team rider, Peter Stetina, hit a pole on the course and suffered bad injuries. The stage two crash caused fractures to his right tibia and patella plus five ribs
“Greg was robbed and the BMC Racing Team was robbed when this happened,” said BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz. “I am appalled that this could occur in a WorldTour race.
“This is the second time this year we have had an incident with a local organizer of a WorldTour race where they have acted in a scandalous fashion. The UCI has been nowhere in this to resolve the problem. This comes back to safety issues in races where the local organizer of WorldTour events and the UCI are negligent in providing a safe racing environment.”
Ochowicz’s frustration is clear, and he doesn’t want to let the matter go. “This was not a sporting incident. This was caused by pure negligence, which cost the team millions of dollars in lost publicity. Therefore, we plan to explore every legal option available to us.”
Another BMC Racing Team rider, Taylor Phinney, crashed due to negligence on the part of a motorbike driver during last year’s US national road race championships. His badly fractured leg and injured knee kept him out of competition for over a year, although the team announced Saturday that he would return to competition in the Tour of Utah on Monday.