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TV moto knocks Van Avermaet out of contention in San Sebastian

A collision with a TV motorcycle knocked Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) out of Saturday’s Clásica San Sebastián, just as the 30-year-old Belgian was soloing clear on the final climb of the day. Television coverage was interrupted by technical problems and did not show any of the incident live, but Van Avermaet took to Twitter to voice his frustration afterward.

As photos and footage published after the race confirmed, Van Avermaet put in an attack on the last climb of the race and opened up a sizable gap on the pack before a TV moto following too closely struck his bike from behind and sent him immediately to the ground. Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) would follow up Van Avermaet’s attack with one of his own, ultimately taking the victory.

“It was a steep climb and the moto driver was too close to me,” Van Avermaet said after the race. “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.”

“The bad thing is that I think I could have won the race,” he 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 Sebastián. So this is really disappointing.

BMC sport director Yvon Ledanois voiced his displeasure as well, calling the incident between the moto and Van Avermaet “unacceptable,” while team general manager Jim Ochowicz wondered, “Where is the UCI in all of this?” upon being informed of the initially untelevised incident.