Trek-Segafredo have suspended junior road race world champion Quinn Simmons after he made “divisive, incendiary, and detrimental” statements on Twitter.
The 19-year-old American, who won his title in 2019, responded to a tweet by a cycling journalist about United States president Donald Trump with ‘bye’ and a black hand-waving emoji.
His response, deemed racist by some Twitter users, sparked a backlash.
Trek-Segafredo said he would not race for them “until further notice”.
“Trek-Segafredo is an organization that values inclusivity and supports a more diverse and equitable sport for all athletes. While we support the right to free speech, we will hold people accountable for their words and actions,” the team said in a statement.
“Regrettably, team rider Quinn Simmons made statements online that we feel are divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team, professional cycling, its fans, and the positive future we hope to help create for the sport.
“In response, he will not be racing for Trek-Segafredo until further notice.”
On Wednesday, Dutch journalist Jose Been tweeted: “My dear American friends, I hope this horrible presidency ends for you. And for us as (former?) allies too.
“If you follow me and support Trump, you can go. There is zero excuse to follow or vote for the vile, horrible man.”
Following his response to the tweet, Simmons was asked by another Twitter user if he was a ‘Trumper’, to which he replied “that’s right” followed by an emoji of the US flag.
In addition to the suggestion of racism, other Twitter users said they would no longer buy bikes from Trek Bikes, the team’s title sponsor.