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Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) has been handed a 21-day driving ban and a fine for a speeding offense dating back to 2020. The young all-arounder, who is currently racing Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy, was not in court on Wednesday when a court handed down the punishment.
The Belgian must also retake his theory examination, part of the process involved in gaining a full driving license. He was handed a €400 fine, too, after he was clocked driving at 125kph in a 70kph zone.
According to reports in the Belgian media, Evenepoel had been at a sponsor’s event on November 12, 2020. The event went long, leaving the Belgian rider late for a physiotherapist appointment. Evenepoel was receiving regular medical treatment at the time after a horrendous crash that took place at Il Lombardia a few months before the speeding incident.
“My client was then convalescing after his serious fall in the Tour of Lombardy in August of that year,” explained Kristof Callebaut, the rider’s lawyer.
“But he also had sponsorship obligations at the time. That day he had an appointment with a sponsor who had run late. As a result, he had left too late for an appointment with his physiotherapist Lieven Maesschalck. Everyone knows that man’s expertise. He works with a tight schedule so it is better not to arrive late,” said Callebaut.
“To make up for lost time, he made the wrong decision and accelerated. In the [bike] race, driving a little faster usually yields something, but in traffic, you don’t gain anything with that. He realizes that. That speed is intolerable and he admits his mistake,” he said according to Het Laatste Nieuws.
“He is not an enfante terrible who comes into the press with all kinds of nonsense,” added Callebaut.
“He leads an exemplary life and you should if you race at that level. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, and doesn’t even go out. He is incredibly talented and makes sacrifices every day. It seems as if it all happens automatically, but it is not at all like that and that is sometimes forgotten. It doesn’t speak well at all, but the worst thing is that this is now in the media and that it reflects negatively on him. He would much rather be in the newspaper with a win than with this story.
“There are few prizes to be won here today. Because he was a novice driver at the time, he also has to take the driving test again and that is why I am asking for the suspension of punishment. Because it is not easy to organize in practical terms. He lives at home, but at the same time is away more than half the time for internships and competitions,” pleaded Callebaut.
The judge in the case handed down the fine and the ban but threatened that Evenepoel would face much stiffer punishment if he violated the speeding laws in the future.