BMC Racing’s Greg Van Avermaet’s chances for victory ended at Clasica San Sebastian when an in-race motorcycle crashed into him and put him out of contention while in the lead.
Van Avermaet attacked on the last climb of the 219-kilometer race and had 15 seconds over his chasers with 600 meters to go when the “radio tour” moto ran into him from behind.
“It was a steep climb and the moto driver was too close to me,” Van Avermaet said in a press release. “He ran right into the back of my bike. My frame was broken and my back wheel was broken. So the race was over for me. I don’t know know what the moto driver was thinking. He did not say anything to me. Maybe he just gave it a little too much gas and ran into me.”
While Van Avermaet was stopped, eventual race winner Adam Yates (ORICA-GreenEDGE) made his own attack. Yates held off Gilbert’s chase group to win by 15 seconds. But he did not initially celebrate because he was unaware Van Avermaet had been forced to stop. Spanish national road champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) finished third.
“The bad thing is that I think I could have won the race,” Van Avermaet said. “I had a big gap. Maybe Yates could have come back, but I think I still could have been there in the sprint. It is not every year you can win a classic like San Sebastian. So this is really disappointing.
BMC Sport Director Yvon Ledanois called the incident between the moto and Van Avermaet “unacceptable.”
“We are not at all happy with this,” Ledanois said. “Greg had a good gap. If this does not happen, he wins the race and Philippe finishes second. No information was given on the radio about the crash, so we did not even know it had happened.”
BMC General Manager Jim Ochowicz also did not mince words when informed about the crash.
“Where is the UCI in all of this?” Ochowicz said.