Yesterday’s victory by Dieter Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) at Ereprijs Paul Herygers in Bredene was overshadowed by an incident on the last lap whereby Gianni Vermeersch (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) pushed Sven Nys (Crelan – AA Drink) into the barriers.
Nys confronted Vermeersch immediately after the race. “Use your head snotnose (brat),” the 39 year-old told his younger compatriot.
Tim Merlier (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace Cycling Team) also confronted Vermeersch after the finish.
Afterwards Nys expressed his frustration. “Gianni was very aggressive and tried to ride me and others off the road. That’s not acceptable,” Nys said.
“What happened today was over the line. Gianni Vermeersch shows no respect,” Nys tweeted afterwards.
“All riders have the same story from this race: a rider who only wants to eliminate other riders,” Nys explained to Sporza. “During the last lap, it was just over the line. They have pushed me into the fences. If this becomes part of cyclo-cross, then we are far from where we have to be.
“I find it a pity. If you can’t ride in a fair way, then you should stay at home. He rode me off the road in a way that can no longer be tolerated. And he has done it with other riders. Then respect is far away.”
Nys later accepted Vermeersch’s apology as he tweeted: “Gianni, I accept your apology and hope you learn something from here. Let the race in Baal be a party. End of discussion!”