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The management of Peter van Petegem's Davitamon-Lotto team have appealed against the Belgian rider's disqualification from Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. Van Petegem and Discovery Channel's Leif Hoste and Vladimir Gusev were disqualified from the race after riding through a closed level crossing on the run-in to Roubaix. The race jury's decision meant that Tom Boonen was placed second instead of Hoste, with Alessandro Ballan third instead of Van Petegem.
"After repeated study of press photos and television pictures, and after discussion with other parties concerned, the sporting management of Davitamon-Lotto have decided to make an official written appeal to the International Cycling Union over the result of Paris-Roubaix," said team spokesman Filip Demyttenaere.
"Clearly, a number of errors were made both during and after the race by different parties, as a result of which, on the one hand, Peter van Petegem has lost a hard-fought podium place and, on the other, Bert Roesems has also been deprived of his fifth place.
"Besides the individual ProTour points which Peter and/or Bert have been deprived of, these decisions have also had an influence on the team standings and on the position of the team cars in upcoming ProTour races," Demyttenaere added.
Discovery Channel have not yet submitted an appeal to the UCI, but directeur sportif Dirk Demol has told the Belgian press "that you can write that it is almost ready to go in the post box".
Demol added: "(Discovery boss) Johan Bruyneel talked about it on Sunday evening with (Davitamon boss) Marc Sergeant, and the two teams are going to protest. Let's say that their decision on Hoste, Gusev and Van Petegem is just, well then they must take the same action against Tom Boonen, Alessandro Ballan and Juan Antonio Flecha, who also slalomed between the barriers once the train had passed. They ought to be disqualified as well."
Van Petegem has defended himself by saying: "I know that you must stop at a closed level crossing and I braked to do that, but Leif Hoste kept going and Vladimir Gusev followed him. What should I have done in a situation like that? I understand that I made a mistake, but the organisers also have their faults. It's madness to have to cross a level crossing so close to the finish."
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