EF Education-Easypost rider Alberto Bettiol’s support for rival Tadej Pogacar during Stage 5 of the Tour de France was “horrendous”, according to Eurosport’s Robbie McEwen.

With two team members up the road during the stage’s cobbled section and one of them – Neilson Powless – in with a chance of taking the yellow jersey at the end of the day’s racing, Bettiol inexplicably decided to hit the front of the chasing group, upping the tempo and allowing GC contender and UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar to make up some of the lost ground.


The goings-on didn’t stop after the stage either, with Bettiol’s team boss Jonathan Vaughters tweeting that it would be an “interesting debrief” and Bettiol retweeting a still image of him doing his work for Pogacar.

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Eurosport’s ‘Breakaway’ team were among those at a loss to explain it.

McEwen said: “I think there will be some harsh words spoken in that team – and there should be. It was horrendous.

“You’ve got Magnus Cort and Neilson Powless in the breakaway with a healthy lead – Powless is leader on the road.

“And then his team-mate [Bettiol] back in the bunch starts drilling it across the cobbled sections with Pogacar in his wheel.

“Someone’s going to have to ask him why. You can only assume that he’s possibly going to UAE [Pogacar’s team] next year.

“Any other reason you’d do that is beyond me.”

Adam Blythe added: “He [Bettiol] went on the front twice and drilled it.

“I don’t want to dig him out but I am digging him out.

“You can’t even say it was positioning going into the cobbles because he had no team-mates with him.

“Powless might’ve been in yellow if it wasn’t for his own team-mate bringing him [Pogacar] back.”

In the end, Wout van Aert retained his lead of the race as the riders prepare for another arduous day in the saddle on Thursday, with a 220km route from Binche to Longwy.

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Stream the Tour de France live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.

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