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Tour de France

Report: Betancur could miss Tour de France because of visa issue

The Colombian was scheduled to race the Tour de Suisse this weekend but missed his flight, and now his European visa has expired

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Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) may not ride in the Tour de France, in part because he missed a flight to Europe last week.

The Colombian rider was scheduled to compete in the Tour de Suisse starting Saturday, but he said he felt sick before his flight from his native country last Tuesday and decided not to fly. With his European visa now expired, he will miss the Swiss race and could potentially miss the Tour de France as well.

“It’s annoying. There’s always problems with him,” Ag2r general manager Vincent Lavenu told Cycling Weekly. “It pushes everything back. We can get an extension with the French, but if he doesn’t show up by the end of the month, we have to start everything over again in Colombia. It’s put his whole season in doubt.”

Lavenu added that Betancur is “attached to his home and he always wants to go home early to stay as long as possible. Staying in Europe has always been difficult for him.”

Betancur earned two stage wins and the best young rider jersey en route the overall title at Paris-Nice in March. In February, the 24-year-old captured victory at the Tour du Haut Var. Last May, he placed fifth in the Giro d’Italia and earned the best young rider jersey.

His 2014 goal race was the Tour de France, although that is now in doubt. Lavenu vented his frustrations about his talented young rider who may have a grand tour victory in his future.

“We communicate a lot with him but don’t get much in return, that’s very frustrating,” Lavenu said in the Cycling Weekly story. “He didn’t take his [flight], he said that he didn’t feel good and wouldn’t get on the plane, but at that point, you are dealing with something that already happened. That’s not the way it should work, you should know beforehand. You just don’t not get on the plane and not tell anyone.

“Maybe he can win the Giro d’Italia one day, but it’s really difficult to work with him.”

After his Paris-Nice win, Betancur abandoned the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) because of health issues. His last race was the Flèche Wallonne on April 23, in which he finished 36th.

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