The race jury has disqualified Lotta Henttala for allegedly holding on to the team car during stage 6 of the Tour de France Femmes with Zwift to Blagnac. AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep director sportif Servais Knaven, who was driving the team vehicle at the time, has reportedly also been banned from the race.
“Following an incident during today’s stage, Lotta Henttala has been disqualified from the Tour de France Femmes. Our DS Servais Knaven has also been disqualified,” the team confirmed.
Henttala entered the Tour de France Femmes as one of the favorites for the sprint stages, while her teammate Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio is currently second overall behind Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx).
The sixth stage of the Tour de France Femmes, 122.1 km from Albi to Blagnac, was marked as one for the sprinters.
Henttala distanced himself from the field at the 71 km-to-go mark on the Côte de Puycelsi, a climb of 1.9 km with an average gradient of 6%, and continued to lose time over the Côte du Clos Pourtié, a climb of 2 .8 km with 4.8% at 64 km remaining.
It has been reported on FranceTV that race officials disqualified Henttala for hanging on to the team car, later confirmed by the organizers of the Tour de France Femmes.
“Lotta Henttala (AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step) was excluded from the race,” the organizers confirmed on the event’s official website and social media.
The disqualification came just hours after the UCI announced SD Worx team manager Danny Stam was banned from the Tour de France ahead of stage 6.
In this incident, the UCI cited the dangerous nature of Stam’s driving as she overtook other cars and riders during stage 5 while bringing Demi Vollering back to the field after a flat tyre, for which she received a 20 second time penalty.