In a dramatic development, with Roglic almost certainly days away from being crowned Tour champion in Paris, the race’s jury report following stage 18 revealed that Zeeman had been removed from the race for what it described as “intimidation, name calling, and improper behaviour of a team member towards a UCI member”.
Although the incident was logged after stage 18 from Merible to La Roche-Sur-Foron, it actually took place at a bike check following stage 17 of the race, the summit finish to the Col de la Loze won by Miguel Ángel López (Astana).
Under UCI article 8.2.2 Zeeman, who has been with Jumbo-Visma since 2012, was kicked off the race and fined 2,000 CHF (£1698) for the offence.
A statement released by cycling’s world governing body on Thursday night read: “The UCI Commissaires Panel has excluded Merijn Zeeman, Team Manager of the Jumbo-Visma team from the Tour de France for ‘intimidation, insults, improper behaviour of a team member towards a UCI member during the bike check carried out at the end of stage 17’, in accordance with article 8.2.2 of the UCI Regulations.
“The commissaires found that Mr. Zeeman behaved in an unacceptable manner towards the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) staff responsible for carrying out an X-ray control and then dismantling the Yellow Jersey bike at the finish of the stage at Col de la Loze in accordance with UCI regulations relating to the fight against technological fraud.
“As a result, Mr. Zeeman was excluded from the event and fined CHF 2,000. The UCI has made the fight against technological fraud one of its priorities to ensure the credibility of the results, and calls on all cycling families (riders, teams and organizers) to join forces to ensure the reputation of our sport.”
The 41-year-old Zeeman will now miss the final three stages of the race.
Roglic, who leads the Tour by 57sec from his fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar [UAE Team Emirates], is almost assured of victory in Paris on Sunday provided he does not crash in stage 19 on Friday – a flatter stage after successive days in the Alps – or in Saturday’s individual time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles.
Dutch team Jumbo-Visma have yet to comment on the incident.