Lefevere wonders about Van Aert’s knee injury
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl manager Patrick Lefevere has publicly questioned the legitimacy of Jumbo-Visma driver Wout van Aert’s recent knee injury.
In his weekend column for a Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, (opens in a new tab) Lefevere suggested the injury was an excuse to miss the Belgian national championships, influenced by his side.
Van Aert revealed on Thursday that he injured his knee during a training camp in Tignes ahead of the Tour de France, retiring from defending his national road title on Sunday.
Lefevere noted that Jumbo-Visma leader Primož Roglič was skipping his own nationals in Slovenia, and hinted that the team did not want its riders to compete before the Tour de France.
“A major absentee on Sunday is of course Wout van Aert, who hit his knee against his handlebars during a training course in Tignes. What bad luck can we have?” wrote Lefevere.
“I’m not going to say that it didn’t happen, but if Jumbo-Visma prefers to keep their leaders away from the Tour championships, say so in so many words. Or is it a coincidence that Primoz Roglic does not participate in Slovenia either?
None of Jumbo-Visma’s eight Tour de France riders are competing in a national championship this weekend.
Lefevere’s weekly column has become a regular outlet for Lefevere to voice his opinions, which are always candid and often controversial.
This one carries a sense of déjà vu given that 12 months ago he publicly questioned a knee injury to his own rider, Sam Bennett, who ended up missing the Tour and quitting the team. at the end of the year. Lefevere suggested the injury was ‘more fear of failure than just pain’ before comparing Bennett to a victim of domestic violence when he closed in on a return to Bora-Hansgrohe, calling the Irishman of “peak of mental weakness”.
In his statement on Thursday, Van Aert said he “would normally never give up a Belgian championship”, adding: “It’s the wisest decision because I don’t want to jeopardize the Tour”.