“I wouldn't have liked it either if my leader was allowed to cuddle with his rivals" - Nathan Van Hooydonck weighs in on viral debate started by Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong's critical and dismissive comments about brotherly love within modern-day cycling caused quite a stir. According to Team Visma | Lease a Bike rider, Nathan van Hooydonck however, the American has a point.

“I wouldn't have liked it either if my leader was allowed to cuddle with his rivals,” the recently retired Belgian admits in conversation on the 'Wuyts & Vlaeminck' podcast for HLN. “Of course I am for fair play. That goes without saying. I understand that you congratulate each other and shake hands. But it can also go too far sometimes."

In particular, images of rivals Tadej Pogacar and Michael Matthews driving to Milano-Sanremo together confused van Hooydonck. "I would never have done carpooling like Pogacar and Matthews did. And then posting photos about it?" he questions in disbelief. "Those guys have to compete against each other in the race. I still wonder about that.”

Countering that argument, Belgian cycling expert, Michel Wuyts plays devil's advocate. "That is the character of Pogacar and other riders of this generation. They want to share that 'happy feeling'. I find it acceptable, beautiful and sometimes even touching," Wuyts replies. "What I would have a much more difficult time with is the way in which Freddy Maertens and Roger De Vlaeminck interacted during the Tour of Flanders in 1977. Those two had such a big chip against each other that they did not grant each other the victory. They then let themselves down and that's how Walter Planckaert won. Then I prefer the current way of dealing with each other.”

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