Riders from Etixx-Quickstep have won eight of the past 10 Tours of Qatar. The race’s crosswinds and wide roads are perfect for the classics-focused squad, and they’ve cleaned up. But they won’t be going this year, because the race’s owners are unhappy with their costume changes.
Back in December, the Belgian team’s non-invite was a bit mysterious. This morning, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Thani, Qatar’s cycling chief, revealed that Etixx didn’t get the call because they are too casual about getting to the podium:
“They’d take too much time changing their shoes, sitting around, and then meeting the press while keeping us waiting,” Al-Thani said. “They can’t do that. Then there were some problems with hotels, discipline… things.”
C’mon man. Al-Thani did note, however, that the team was shitty to a fixer who the race had sent to corral them last year.
But Al-Thani said the team’s most egregious actions came in 2015, when the race assigned a female employee to escort the winner to the podium each day. That year, Terpstra won the time trial as well as the general classification, and Etixx-Quick-Step won the team general classification.
“We sent them a special lady to hurry them up, and they talked to her not in a very nice way and waved her off like that,” Al Thani said. “That was not good.”
Okay that’s less silly, but a reminder: Dude’s family’s country relies on slave labor.
Photo via Getty