Double Avenir stage winner Michael Hepburn withdrawn by Australian team
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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Double Avenir stage winner Michael Hepburn withdrawn by Australian team

by Ben Atkins at 3:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Australian pulled out by coach Neil Stephens after unacceptable victory gesture

michael hepburnAustralian rider Michael Hepburn has been withdrawn from the Tour de l’Avenir by national team coach Neil Stephens, following a gesture made after his victory on stage three according to cyclismactu.fr. The Queenslander raised his right arm in triumph as he crossed the line at the top of the uphill finishing straight, but it was the “bras d’honneur” that he made afterwards, was what angered Stephens enough to prevent him from starting stage four.

Hepburn was apparently aiming his gesture towards the commissaires that relegated him from the sprint on stage one – for irregular sprinting – and fined him twenty seconds, which cost him the yellow jersey that he held after his prologue victory.

Stephens’ decision to withdraw Hepburn – and to fine him 1500 Euros – is not without precedent. The HTC-Columbia team withdrew super-sprinter Mark Cavendish from the 2010 Tour de Romandie after the Manxman made a different, but similarly meant, gesture towards his critics in the media.

Hepburn’s victory had moved him to second in the overall classification, 26 seconds behind new leader David Boily (Canada), but was forced to watch the rest of the peloton roll out of Porrentruy at the start of the fourth stage this morning.

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