Bjorg Lambrecht misses Tour Down Under as UCI and Lotto Soudal clash
Jan 15 2018 01:15 pm CET

Bjorg Lambrecht misses Tour Down Under as UCI and Lotto Soudal clash
Bjorg Lambrecht misses Tour Down Under as UCI and Lotto Soudal clash
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LOTTO SOUDAL
SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER

Lotto Soudal neo-pro Bjorg Lambrecht will not be able to start in the Tour Down Under, the UCI told the team. The Belgian formation protested the decision.

According to current UCI regulations, new riders need to have filled in their whereabouts for at least 42 days (six weeks) before taking part in their first WorldTour race. This was not the case for the Belgian, but Lotto Soudal insists that only the UCI is to blame for this.

"In December the UCI organised three webinars (one in French, English and Spanish) to teach the neo-pros how to use the ADAMS whereabouts system," the team explained.

"One day later Bjorg Lambrecht received his login for the ADAMS whereabouts system. However, the English webinar only took place on December 14 (only 33 days before the start of Tour Down Under) and Bjorg received his login on December 15 with the message that he needed to fill in his whereabouts as of December 17 (30 days before the start of Tour Down Under) to be able to start at Tour Down Under. Conflicting with the regulations."

The team has as such decided to leave its rider out of the squad, but not without protest. "Lotto Soudal informed the UCI not to agree with the decision, explained with an extensive argumentation, but without a written confirmation of the UCI that Bjorg can start, neither the rider nor the team can take any risk. Bjorg Lambrecht won’t be replaced, which means Lotto Soudal will start with six riders on Tuesday instead of seven. On 28 January Bjorg can ride the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, because then the period of six weeks will be passed."

Lambrecht himself is, understandably, unhappy with the development. "This is a huge disappointment. We came to Australia a week ago, I felt good in the group, was looking forward to my first pro season and then it’s a huge disappointment when you hear you can’t start. But of course we can’t take any risk. I will stay here to train for a week and then I will head to Melbourne with the team."

The 20-year-old made the move from Lotto Soudal's U23 team after an impressive 2017 season, in which he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege Espoirs and the Grand Prix Priessnitz spa.
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