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Patrick Lefevere’s son is facing prosecution for an unauthorized helicopter ride over Paris-Roubaix in April. With Van der Poel and Van Aert training in Spain, Toon Aerts and Laurens Sweeck were able to register wins over the weekend; Lucinda Brand and Maud Kaptheijns won the women’s races. Oh, and there was a European Championship held Sunday… for beach racing.
STORY OF THE DAY: Lefevere’s son faces prosecution for Roubaix helicopter ride
The 2018 Paris-Roubaix was already a disappointment for Quick-Step Floors manager Patrick Lefevere after Peter Sagan jumped clear to catch the day’s breakaway and win ahead of Silvan Dillier, with Tour of Flanders winner Niki Terpstra best of the rest, in third.
And now that race is haunting the Lefevere family for other reasons.
Thomas Lefevere, the 22-year-old son of the Quick-Step Floors manager, is facing criminal charges for piloting a helicopter from Belgium into French airspace during the April 9 race without authorization.
According to La Voix du Nord, after crossing the Franco-Belgian border and landing in Bourghelles, near the Mons-en-Pévèles cobblestone sector during the final 30km of the race, Lefevere allegedly picked up two passengers and flew above the race for 90 minutes.
“My client did not know that he needed to file a flight-plan application,” Lefevere’s lawyer, Christophe Hareng, told La Voix du Nord. “He enquired about it and someone responded in the negative.”
It’s a dubious defense, however, as in France even drone operators are required to file flight plans. And the only aircraft permitted above Paris-Roubaix are those of host broadcaster France Télévisions, race organizer ASO, and the French police. According to the newspaper, radio calls from those helicopters to Lefevere “remained unanswered.”
Correctie. We hebben op geen enkel moment boven de renners gevlogen. Ver van zelfs. Ma ja nog een kleiner wereldje dan de koers die Helicopter mannen. https://t.co/5EqZRutsbC
— Patrick Lefevere (@PatLefevere) December 9, 2018
Lefevere will face a judge in Lille on June 6, and is being prosecuted “for a whole series of offenses related to issues of administrative or security clearance.” He risks losing his pilot’s license.
His father, the Quick-Step manager, addressed the topic on Twitter Sunday to issue a correction of a WielerFlits.nl article, stating, “We did not fly above the riders at any time — far from it.”
Aerts, Sweeck take CX wins as MVDP, WVA train in Spain
On Sunday, Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea Lions) won alone at the Druivencross d’Overijse ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) and Corné van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions).
World no.1 Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and world champion Wout Van Aert (Cibel-Cebon) did not compete, still away in Spain on training camps.
In the women’s race, Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) overcame several crashes on the technical course to win ahead of Nikki Brammeier (Mudiiita) and Eva Lechner (Creafin-Tüv Süd). Belgian Ellen Van Loy (Telenet-Fidea Lions) left the race in an ambulance after a crash, with knee pain after a hard crash.
— Team Sunweb (@TeamSunweb) December 9, 2018
“I was in a constant battle with Nikki, who was really good on the technical sections,” Brand said. “But I was stronger on the climbs and able to come back. It went like that each lap which made it super tough. Going into the last lap I was in the lead but I crashed again. I thought I’d lost the race but I just gave it one more hard fight and made it back to Nikki’s wheel. I managed to make some distance on the uphill again and was able to win the race.”
On Saturday, Laurens Sweeck (Vastgoedservice-Pauwels Sauzen) won the BricoCross d’Essen ahead of Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts-777) and David van der Poel (Corendon-Circus). In the women’s race, Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles) won ahead of Brand and Lechner.
Beach racing: Not only is it a thing, there’s a European Championship
Beach racing — it’s a thing. And on Sunday in the Netherlands, the 2018 European MTB Beach Race Championships were held on two laps of a 27km track near The Hague.
— UEC_cycling (@UEC_cycling) December 9, 2018
It was an all-Dutch podium in the men’s race, with former cyclocross world champion Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo) ahead of Mike Teunissen (Sunweb) and Bram Imming.
The women’s podium was also an all-Dutch affair, with WaowDeals teammates Pauliena Roooijakkers and Rejanne Markus finishing first and second, and Rozanne Slik (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) rounding out the podium.
Boels-Dolmans back on singletrack
It looks as though the mountain-bike bug is spreading at Boels-Dolmans. Earlier this year, Anna van der Breggen skipped the Giro Rosa to race on the dirt instead. More recently the team signed 2016 world champion Annika Langvad. And now, the team’s training camp appears to include time spent bonding on singletrack, as Karol-Ann Canuel shared in an Instagram post over the weekend.
Cycling in the News
Boy who was ISIS captive behind movement to bring bicycles to refugee children
CBC News has a toucging story about 14-year-old Emad Mishko Tamo, a former ISIS captive who is behind a movement to bring new bicycles to fellow Yazidi refugees in his Winnipeg community.
“For the 14-year-old boy, the bicycle stands for freedom, something that only a few years ago was snatched away from him and his family when they were taken by Iraqi militants and held captive for three years,” the story reads.
Watch the LockPickingLawyer cut through a $55 Kevlar Ottolock bike lock in about two seconds.
In case you missed it…
CyclingTips European correspondent Dave Everett shared his 10 favorite products from 2018, and the list ranges from Tim Tams and Milo, which can be bought with pocket change, to the US$2,200 new Campagnolo Record 12-speed groupset.
It may be in gold that Ballarat found its feet, but for Australian cyclists, it’s the green and gold jersey which is now synonymous with the city. And while the Summer of Cycling is Ballarat’s moment in the spotlight, there’s plenty to entice riders to the region year-round.
Happy birthday to…
Swiss rider Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale), stage winner at the 2016 Vuelta a España, turns 32 today.
South African Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla) turns 33.
— Équipe Paule Ka (@Equipe_PauleKa) December 9, 2018
Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, turns 38 today.
Czech mountain-bike and cyclocross star Katerina Nash turns 41 today. For a recent feature on Nash — who finished on the podium of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Wisconsin with riders 10 and 18 years younger — click below.