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€150 fine for neutral service driver who hit Jesse Sergent at Tour of Flanders

Rider was forced to retire throug injury - driver's day job is as a police inspector...

The driver of a Shimano neutral service car who knocked Jesse Sergent off his bike during the 2015 Tour of Flanders, causing injuries that would force the rider to retire this year, has been fined 150 euro by a court in Belgium.

Sergent, riding at the time for Trek Factory Racing, was in the breakaway group when the driver of the vehicle tried to pass the New Zealander on his left, causing him to crash. The incident was caught by TV cameras.

According to Het Nieuwsblad , the driver was one Mario S, whose full-time job is as a chief inspector of police, and who appeared in a magistrates’ court in Oudenaarde yesterday.

His lawyer, Stephanie Lenaerts, claimed that the driver warned the riders of his approach by using his horn, and that Sergent had drifted out to the left.

But the prosecution said that no blame should be attached to the rider, saying of the defendant, “as a driver and certainly as a police officer, he should know better.”

Magistrates fined him 300 euro, half of that deferred, meaning he pays 150 euro.

The police officer expressed regret about the incident, saying he would “have that day in my memory for the rest of my life.”

Sergent switched to AG2R-La Mondiale for the 2016 season but retired in July, having never fully recovered from his broken collarbone which saw him undergo surgery on three occasions.

> Jesse Sergent retires at 28 due to Tour of Flanders crash injury

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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