Sam Bennett on his way to stage 1 victory at the 2021 Paris-Nice.

Patrick Lefevere issued a mea culpa after last week’s abuse comments

Patrick Lefevere admits he was wrong to liken Sam Bennett’s re-signing with Bora-Hansgrohe to domestic abuse victims returning home.

by Kit Nicholson

photography by Cor Vos

Patrick Lefevere returned to his weekly column with an admission that he was wrong, at least partly.

“I am not too big to admit I went wrong with my declarations about Sam Bennett,” he wrote in Het Nieuwsblad. “My opinion about him is unchanged but my comments about domestic violence were inappropriate. Mea culpa.”

Sam Bennett has been quiet since June 21st when it was revealed his knee injury would keep him from defending his green jersey at the Tour de France. Meanwhile, his team boss Patrick Lefevere has been far from discreet about his frustration. Since Lefevere’s last entry on July 31st, Bennett’s expected return to Bora-Hansgrohe has been confirmed. 

The sprinter’s racing calendar has remained empty since his withdrawal from the Tour, and it now turns out that the knee injury – the one Lefevere suggested might not exist – requires surgery, ruling him out of the rest of the season. So with any luck, this is the last we’ll hear from Lefevere on the Irishman.

“In the Bennett discussion I will choose my words more carefully or rather stay silent,” Lefevere wrote. “Recent scans shows he needs surgery on the knee and 3-4 month recovery. He won’t race for our team anymore.”

The remainder of Lefevere’s column was given over to Marc Sergeant, a long-standing member of the management team at rival Belgian outfit Lotto Soudal. The team announced this week that Sergeant will leave at the end of 2021 after almost two decades on the staff.

“Marc Sergeant is my polar opposite in everything,” Lefevere wrote. “And that’s a compliment.”

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