Lotto Dstny have apologised and suspended a sports director after an incident at the GP Rik Van Looy in Belgium on Sunday saw a race marshal run over after preventing the team's car from immediately rejoining the race route at a junction.
Carl Roes, a sports director for the team's development team, is the staff member involved, Lotto Dstny CEO Stéphane Heulot calling his colleague's behaviour "very unfortunate and unacceptable".
Footage, shared on YouTube by RTV, shows the incident unfold as the race turns off a smaller side road and onto a main road. Roes' vehicle is off the route, and the sports director is trying to rejoin the race when the marshal stands in front of the car to prevent it joining while other team cars pass the junction.
Rather than waiting, the Lotto Dstny sports director is then seen driving into the marshal, knocking him to the ground and speeding away from the corner.
Het Laaste Nieuws says the incident was reported immediately after the race, the team and sports director apologising to the marshal. A spokesperson from the relevant police department also confirmed that it is investigating, with a decision regarding which charges might be pursued by the Antwerp prosecutor's office expected later today.
The Dutch-language newspaper believes hit-and-run charges are likely to be avoided, but were told by police that: "Immediately after the race we received a report that an incident had happened. We were then able to quickly identify the party involved, but we did not yet know exactly what had happened. We have now seen the images, and they speak for themselves."
"There is no excuse"
Lotto Dstny CEO Stéphane Heulot condemned Roes' driving and said there is "no excuse" for what happened.
"This is a very unfortunate and unacceptable incident," he said. "As soon as we heard this news we suspended the team leader. There is no excuse for such behaviour, it simply should not happen in a race. We would also like to express our apologies to the signalman and the organisation.
"Carl realises that he has made a mistake. He already spoke to the signalman and apologised. We take this matter very seriously and are now considering further measures. Until then, Carl will no longer take action."
In August, the team confirmed sports director Allan Davis had been fired after sending "inappropriate" messages to women. That decision came after road.cc spoke to a woman who received contact from Davis, the former pro rider removed from Lotto Dstny's Tour de France plans after the publication of the allegations that he had been sending unwanted messages and photos to "at least 30" women online.
Heulot was again forced into a PR firefighting mission, saying the team has its "own values and standards which we apply in our daily work and in the team", standards that Davis had not met.
Davis apologised during the Tour de France for his "inappropriate word and actions".
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.