In the wake of controversy over Iljo Keisse’s lewd gesture made toward a woman, shown in a photograph taken Friday, Vuelta a San Juan organizers have kicked the Belgian out of the race. Officials for the Argentinian race confirmed the decision late Tuesday evening.
Keisse was out on a training ride with his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team the Friday before the seven-day stage race. They stopped at a cafe. There, they posed for a picture with a female employee at the restaurant. Keisse pantomimed a sex-act, which was then caught on camera and came to light late on Monday.
“I want to apologize to everyone here, the Argentinean people, everyone feels offended,” he said. “The race organizer has been in difficulty because of this. And to my team. It was a really stupid thing to do. I wish I could turn back time, but I can’t.”
However, his apology did not sway the race organizers, who decided to exclude him from the remainder of the race, which finishes Sunday.
The Vuelta a San Juan’s statement said that Keisse’s behavior had damaged the reputation and honor of the race organization, the UCI, and cycling in general.