Team boss suspended from women's Tour after Vollering penalty

cycling28 July 2023 14:17| © AFP
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Danny Stam,

Danny Stam, the head of the SD Worx team, was thrown off the Women's Tour de France on Friday in the aftermath of a penalty for his star rider Demi Vollering.

After Vollering was hit with a 20 second penalty on Thursday that dropped her from second overall to seventh, she and Stam reacted angrily.

On Friday, race commissaires banned Stam from the rest of the race, which ends on Sunday.

On the fifth stage, Vollering suffered a puncture and dropped back to the team car driven by Dutchman Stam.

As a race marshal shouted at her to stop, the Dutch rider tucked into the slipstream of the car, which was weaving between the vehicles of other teams, as she set off in pursuit of the peloton.

The commissaires said on Friday that Stam was guilty of "particularly dangerous overtaking of other cars and riders" and "inappropriate comments made to the jury of commissaires".

Before Friday's stage set off Vollering repeated that she had not done anything wrong.

"I never felt in danger, I never felt I did something wrong. I feel it's not so nice to get directly 20 seconds," she said on Eurosport.

Stam had earlier blasted the quality of the jury "for such an important race" and called the verdict "ridiculous".

"I passed a couple of cars in the caravan, and they found it too much," he said, adding that the commissaire "didn't say much because the window stayed closed".

"They also need to look in the mirror and think a little bit about what is happening in the race," said Stam. "We can lose the Tour de France on five seconds."

Last year, Vollering finished second to her Dutch compatriot and great rival Annemiek van Vleuten.

"It feels hard. I hope it does not change anything. I hope the Tour is not won by 20 seconds," said Vollering.

"We can talk all day about this but it doesn't change anything and that's a sad story."

The Worx team has dominated women's cycling and Vollering's teammate Lotte Kopecky led going into Friday's sixth stage.

Van Vleuten was fifth with a 12sec edge over Vollering.

The two have been riding cautiously ahead of the weekend's two potentially pivotal closing stages: a brutal Pyrenean climb on Saturday and a time trial on Sunday.