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Cycling world condemns Patrick Lefevere’s comments about mental weakness

Voices from the cycling world unify to condemn inflammatory remarks made by Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss.

The cycling world has condemned the controversial statements made by Patrick Lefevere this weekend.

Lefevere was addressing the issue of mental strength in his latest column for Het Nieuwsbald on Saturday in the light of American gymnast Simone Biles leaving the Olympics to focus on her mental health.

The veteran director wrote about several past and present riders that he has worked with, and called Irish sprinter Sam Bennett “the epitome of mental weakness.” Lefevere also likened Bennett’s approaching transfer away from Deceuninck-Quick-Step to former team Bora-Hansgrohe as “the same as women who still return home after domestic violence.”

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Cycling reporters, commentators and former riders have widely condemned the comments on social media.

“Opinion: He’s a f**king idiot,” wrote retired pro Matt Goss.

“Characteristically outspoken or not, there is no other way to describe these comments, and a man who makes light of women’s domestic abuse, exploits mental health and potentially endangers a rider’s wellbeing is disgraceful,” wrote reporter Sophie Smith. “This should be met with UCI sanctions.”

Lefevere, Deceuninck-Quick-Step, and the UCI are yet to comment. We here at VeloNews stand against Lefevere’s insensitive and harmful words.

Here’s some of the reactions that have been circulating, including statements from GCN mastermind Daniel Lloyd, rider agent Stephen Fry, and VeloNews‘ own Sadhbh O’Shea.