Cofidis rider Nacer Bouhanni won yesterday’s Nokere Koerse race in Belgium, but social media users have focused on a bizarre incident involving Lotto-Soudal rider Kris Boeckmans who was filmed ‘escorting’ a rival rider to the rear of the peloton inside the final 10 kilometres.
TV footage showed Boeckmans holding an outstretched arm towards the WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect rider Justin Jules to slow him down and allow other riders to pass.
— Tappa e Maglia (@TappaeMaglia) March 15, 2017
There had been a crash within the peloton at the Belgian cobbled race shortly beforehand, which could explain the behaviour of Boeckmans, a rider who spent a week in an induced coma following a crash in the 2015 edition of the Vuelta a Espana.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, Boeckmans said that he had been working for team mate Jasper De Buyst when he became aware of Jules pulling on his saddle and cursing at him in French.
The newspaper noted that Jules, whose biological father was the Tour de France stage winner Pascal Jules, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2008 for murdering his alcoholic stepfather with an iron bar four years earlier.
Referring to the incident during yesterday’s race, Boeckmans said: “It’s not the first time he’s done that. They told me, ‘Watch out, he’s not normal, he spent three years in prison’. That shouldn’t be an excuse. Why should that lad be allowed to get away with things?”
Later, the Lotto-Soudal tweeted to explain that his foremost concern had been for the safety of himself and other riders.
I did it my way, maybe it's not the best way but always with respect and security for my colleagues. #NokereKoerse
— Kris Boeckmans (@krisboeckmans) March 15, 2017
One curiosity; Boeckmans was winner of the race in 2015, when Jules finished runner-up.
Yesterday, the Lotto-Soudal rider came home in 149th place while the French rider he had brought back to the rear of the peloton was 16th.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.