Fisticuffs mar end of Münsterland Giro race

Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) unleashed a wild punch to the helmeted head of Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) during the post-race press scrum

Things got a little heated following the hectic finish of the Münsterland Giro race in Munster, Germany, Thursday.

Following Alvaro Hodeg’s win in the 14th edition of the 193.3km rain soaked race, one of the Colombian’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammates displayed a touch of displeasure with how the final crash-marred sprint went down.

During the post-race press scrum, Florian Senechal unleashed a wild punch to the helmeted head of Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb). Apparently Senechal felt Walscheid, who finished fifth, had contributed to the fall that brought down Senechal and at least one other rider. That late-race dust-up was quickly followed by a jab to Walscheid’s head. You can relive all the action here:

Deceuninck-Quick-Step quickly released a conciliatory statement via Twitter, saying in part:

“Deceuninck-Quick-Step doesn’t condone [Senechal’s] behavior at the end of today’s [Münsterland Giro]. The matter has been dealt with internally and Florian has been fined, with the proceeds set to go to a charity organization.”

Senechal also apologized, saying via Twitter that his, “Heartfelt apologies go to [Walscheid, Team Sunweb], my team and my fans. What I did after the race was completely unacceptable and it doesn’t represent who I am. I’m really sorry for this!”

There was no word on how Senechal’s hand or Walscheid’s Lazer helmet are doing, but it is worth noting that the 23-year-old Hodeg is the first non-European born rider to win this late season race.

The race’s significant action commenced about 80 kilometers from the finish, when a pair of riders jumped away, hoping to open a gap before the chase could get organized. But Deceuninck-Quick-Step shut down the move, and later nullified an attack by Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus).

From there Deceuninck-Quick-Step continued to control the race, with other teams chipping in as the finish line was getting closer and closer. With 20 kilometers to go, Brian Van Goethem (Lotto-Soudal) launched an attack but was reeled in under the flamme rouge at 1km to go.

Then Hodeg emerged at the front in the driving rain 500 meters from the line and waited for the last 150 meters to kick, delivering a win that saw him hold off the charge of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) on the slippery roads of Münster. It was Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s 66th UCI victory of the year.

“We knew the race would be hard on the climbs, because many teams didn’t have a sprinter here and wanted to break the peloton,” explained Hodeg. “But the boys protected me throughout the day. It was very cold, and this made it even more difficult, but I didn’t mind racing in the rain, as I like it. Going into the final, I remained focused and asked [my teammates] to make sure we’d be in the top 10 positions, and they did a superb job. I was confident and just did my sprint, and I’m glad I could repay the team for their hard work.”