The young Belgian and his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team have been subjected to an investigation by the UCI and its anti-doping body after videos emerged of staffers removing an object from Eveneepoel’s pocket after the 20-year-old crashed and plummeted into a ravine at the Italian monument earlier this month.
CCC-Team rider and fellow Belgian Serge Pauwels had leaped to Evenepoels’ defense in a recent television interview, with Het Nieuwsblad reporting that Pauwels had called the investigation a “storm in a teacup.”
Evenepoel reacted on Twitter to thank Pauwels and express his distress at the situation.
“Thanks a lot Serge Pauwels for explaining the situation I was in,” he wrote. “I’m going to be honest. This morning I’ve been crying in my hospital bed in the arms of my father. That is how shit I felt. I was fighting for my life at that moment. And my team just did the best for me!”
The staffer involved in the incident, David Bramati, and Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere have both stated that the object was a “finishing bottle” of caffeine drink, and was removed to enable Evenepel to lay flat on a stretcher.
The team released an official statement Saturday after UCI president David Lappartient confirmed that the CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) was to investigate the matter.
“We would like to clarify that we have been contacted by CADF earlier this week to discuss the incident surrounding Remco Evenepoel’s crash at Il Lombardia earlier this month,” read the statement.
“As has already been stated publicly, the item that was captured being removed from Remco’s pockets was a small bottle containing nutrition products and was removed in order to help him to be placed more comfortably by medical staff on the stretcher. We have reiterated this to CADF and we will continue to cooperate with their enquires if needed.
“With regards to the transmission of data, we would also like to clarify that data such as live location is transmitted by the Velon device that was installed on bikes during Il Lombardia by Velon in partnership with the race organizer. The devices allow everyone, including the fans, to track and see rider data live in the race.
“We are confident that this will put an end to any further speculation surrounding the incident.”
Evenepoel is currently continuing his recovery from a broken hip in a Belgian hospital.