Giro d'Italia 2015 stage - 2
  • Lots of ‘them’s the rules’ going on. But frankly, given the number of rules that aren’t enforced, this seems utterly bizarre.

    • For example, while I was looking up this rule, I came across ‘passing a level crossing which is already down’. Punishment? Elimination. Was anyone DQ’d at Roubaix this year? Hardly.

    • Daniel

      Agree. Cycling seems to have such an issue with consistently applying rules. Look at the constant towing of riders by cars, or (as you’ve said) the level crossing debacle at Paris-Roubaix. Look at the joke that was Stelvio last year; they made up some BS rule on the fly about “following the motorbike in front” (ignoring the fact that there would be no control on how fast each of the motos would go) then messed up the translation of the rule on race radio.

      I hope Porte comes back to win. If he doesn’t, the winner better win by more than two minutes (Stelvio was easier to swallow last year when Quintana then went on to tear everyone to shreds), otherwise this is utter BS.
      Love to see what Daniel Lloyd has suggested, but not holding my breath.
      I’ll swallow the “rules are rules” approach when it is applied consistently.

      • I think we broadly agree, but Contador and Aru would ride the next two weeks differently if Porte was 1 minute down, rather than 3, so it’s a bit of a stretch to say he’d have won had it not been for this. If he finishes less than two minutes down, that is.

    • Cdee

      Yep, that the big problem. The quality in commissaries seems vary wildly. Also I think rider education as to what the rules are needs improving too. I doubt that this would happen if two riders had what there doing was a prohibited.

    • velocite

      Agree. As you say, many obvious infractions are not penalized – so the sky doesn’t fall in if the commissaires ignore certain events. Furthermore, I understand this rule is designed to catch premeditated and underhand collaboration, which this plainly was not. And even furthermore, the rule is clearly little known – certainly it was unknown to the riders involved. I think that in these circumstances the 200 euro fine would have been enough to draw attention to this first offence.

  • James Rider

    The UCI:
    Team with multiple doping cases in one year: absolutely fine.
    Crossing a level crossing seconds before a train: absolutely fine.
    Hand over a wheel: fine plus huge time penalty.

    Sickening.

    • Arfy

      I think the problem is that the UCI are NOT in control, it’s up to the race organiser and their Commissaire to apply the rules. All we ask for is consistency and transparency!

  • erin_2503

    Devastating. Is there a reason or circumstance that created the rule and is there such as thing as “regulation assistance”?

  • Jon Thornton

    Loved this suggestion. Everyone in top 50 GC EXCEPT Richie Porte swaps wheels with someone from another team. Everyone gets 2 minutes.

    • Samaway

      It would perhaps be the funniest rider protest of all time

    • mattb

      give all the Astana guys tyres with slow leaks please

    • Dave

      Even better, someone has posted further down the page that the penalty for in-race violence is a fine and a one minute penalty. If every rider slapped two others they could not only sort out the penalties but also sort out some feuds.

  • CB

    After the TT it’ll be status quo after Porte takes out his frustrations on this Giro. A shame they chose to enforce this particular rule in such circumstances.

  • Michael Sproul

    Destroyed the race for me. There’s talk the team car was blocked and not allowed too pace ’em back onto the back of the peloton? Why not punish him twice eh!

    • Madblack

      Calm down it was in the last 10k. No team car should be in there. More on topic where was the team car or his team mates when he had the puncture!??

      • Mikael_L

        So if no team car should be in there in the last 10k, why do you expect the team car to be there to give him a spare wheel?

        There was a teammate about 100m up the road, but he’s also not allowed to backtrack against the flow of the race

        • Dave

          A good example of the attention to detail learned from many years of experience that new teams like Sky are yet to pick up.

          On a flat stage, any other GC contender would always have at least one teammate *behind* them as the ‘bodyguard’ for situations like this. Often they are required to ride a bike with the leader’s preferred equipment and gearing even if their preference is different.

          • Larry Theobald

            Exactly! This was a SKY cock-up, pure and simple. Maybe we call this one “marginal brains”? And then there’s the comment from the guy who puts his star in a private motorhome each night to sleep and flies him from the stage finish in a private helicopter – “No one was trying to gain an unfair advantage”

            • Andy

              Sky could’ve been better prepared for such an event, true, but I don’t think you can blame them to such a large degree.

              Surely given that this has changed the face of the race enormously, and it was an act of kindness by an OGE rider ( I could be mistaken but Porte did not ask for the wheel directly, it was offered ) which showed the positivity of the the sport and it’s participants in a great way, a simple fine would have been enough?

      • Michael Sproul

        Haha, I’m pretty calm. It’d be nice to see a Giro decided by the racing this year though, suppose I’ll wait another year…

  • jules

    terrible. feel so bad for Richie. but the rules are clear. correct decision. Richie will fight back.

    • dcaspira

      Jules – Sorry disagree. Nuance of the rule doesn’t align with the spirit of the sport.

      • jules

        let’s not panic. it’s a long race. who says Contador won’t suffer misfortune? Aru? I’m still 100% in Richie’s corner.

      • tourdetweets

        I believe it’s a contract issue with the non-team support (typically Mavic) to have protected product rights that assures only their products are used for mechanical support purposes.

        • jules

          no, I don’t think so. your own team can supply spares. they are trying to protect the integrity of the teams element of racing. imagine if an opponent in football started helping someone from the other side. obviously cycling is a bit different to a lot of other sports as it’s only semi-teams oriented but the intention of the rule is clear.

          • tourdetweets

            I do hope you’re correct and Porte can claw his way back… If not, a letter of the law decision has greatly lessened the interest value of the Giro.

          • Andy

            I could be wrong, but aren’t a lot of the people standing at the side of the roads in the classics with spare wheels just regular spectators?

        • sps12321

          think its more to have teams of 9 riders not teams of 18 riders

      • sps12321

        nuance? Doesnt seem all that nuanced. pretty straight forward. Whether its a good rule or not is another story but it exists an the commissaires were right to enforce it.

        • Stompin

          Then Astana shouldn’t even be IN the race.

          • sps12321

            In Astana’s case there was nuance.

            • Stompin

              Astana are corrupt.

    • Nath

      The rule seems clear but would be interesting to see if the penalty is. Do the rules state a mandatory time penalty, or could the commissaire have issued a fine only, or a 30sec penalty? Cycling is a sport defined by stories of sacrifice, sportsmanship (or a lack of it), and drama, and yet this seems to be despite the best efforts of the UCI, particularly in the consistent and contextual application of the rules. I hope Orica ride for Richie where possible, or the peloton cede 2 mins to Porte so we can actually have a real race with more than 2 contenders.

      • sps12321

        Pretty defined 2min for 1st offence in a stage race

  • dcaspira

    #saveporte – this decision erodes sportsmanship.

  • sps12321

    like the velohuman comment: “Rule is against giving help TO (not getting it FROM) another team”

    • Michele

      rule applies for both riders though

  • bikeinbc

    At first reaction based on the human element is that its really sucks to get a flat at that point in the race and it looked nice seeing friends helping friends so sad to see that time penalty added to the time loss. But alas this is a pro sport with high stakes and they are pros and its their jobs also to know the rules and play by them. And if they dont they have a DS in the car behind watching the TV feed and a radio in their ear. Not many excuses. The tv cameras and photographers were all around 2 OGE riders Clarke (wheel) and Mathews (chase) helped Port. Now would they have equally aided another of the top 10 in such a situation, who knows, but kinda doubt it. The rule exists and there is a good reason for it, photos/video were in the public immediately. Race jury must apply the rules or look incompetent, whats their option? The fault lies on the riders for not following the rules period. The race is between 9 man teams, not 11 man teams. I don’t really see why all the anger at the commies and the UCI. Sky doms made the error to not change the wheel or give up a bike immediately to their leader, Sky DS made an error splitting the team between sprint duties and looking after their GC guy. Sky team messed up big time and paid a higher price than expected, very unfortunate, but simple as that.

    • sps12321

      most of the anger seems to be directed at the existence of the rule rather than its enforcement (or at least seems that way to me). The comment about teams of 11 (or 18) is I think the reason for the rule. There is also precedent for this rule being enforced in other races (think Gaimon mentions it in his book) so can’t say riders weren’t warned.

      • bikeinbc

        If we imagine the rule being the othe rway, ie support allowed between all riders, this would not really make much sense and far more chance to be abused. So really needs to be the way it is. If I was an Aussie in Tour of Italy I would be glad the commies were making sure it was a team vs team contest. Anyway the riders have been warned….this Giro will be called by the book. A 2 min penalty is lots, but really some of the posters should take note of the history of the Giro….the past says its hardly going to “destroy” the Giro chances of Porte. Porte has played a boring game until now. This will force his hand and for someone who cares less who wins, but wants and interesting race, looks like spicy times to come!

  • tourdetweets

    Does the UCI not comprehend the viewer value of allowing this to occur? I’m not sure if it has to do with teams only receiving non-team based support from Mavic or whoever, but watching how Sky would repay the favor would be a great storyline for the remainder of the Giro. The rule is protecting something, but I’m not quite sure what.

  • Neil

    This is why no-one can take the UCI seriously. The fact that teams can have serial doping problems, but when riders speak up they get sued. The fact that they are worried about sock height and stripes on bikes, but not riders going through a level crossing. The fact that they allow guys with a long record of cheating to not only be involved in the sport, but to run teams.
    Lame duck of an organisation.

  • Samaway

    At first glance, the wheel change appears a great display of sportsmanship. No GC contender should have his(!) race decided by a mechanical. However, the very idea of sportsmanship, as a historical concept, implies that sport is practiced for its own sake. For example, the first discursive manifestation of sportsmanship, amateurism, was intended to protect sport from commercial influences. The wheel change is not sportive, in this sense, because it constitutes a collaboration between two players from different teams. The wheel change was therefore an act of nationalism rather than sportsmanship.

    • Harry

      Good point Sam.

    • Nath

      Friendship perhaps, not necessarily nationalism. Cycling, and especially the Giro, is about stories not rules and the story should be allowed to be told. That said, the issue is not the rule nor it’s enforcement, but rather the penalty applied being in excess of the ‘advantage’ gained. Fine the guys to make the point, but time penalties are excessive and place control of the story in the hands of the Comm, not the riders where it belongs.

      • Samaway

        I read on Velo News that the punishment could have been 5-10 minutes and that 2 minutes is therefore lenient (if you can believe that!). Also, I’m not saying I agree with the punishment, just trying to explain why it was enacted–i.e., because the UCI regulates in the name of “sport,” above all else. In that sense, I greatly accept your rebuke that we shouldn’t let formalisms define cycling for us, and that cycling should be about friendships (and fun!) :)

        • sps12321

          Think the 5-10 is for repeat offenders within the same stage race

      • Dave

        I’ll believe the ‘friendship perhaps, not necessarily nationalism’ line when Richie gives Alberto a wheel. They should still be good mates after all those years riding for Mr 60% together.

        • Conconi – The Original Master

          So when you say “all those years riding for Mr 60% together”, you are obviously referring to THE year [note: singular, not plural] of 2011.

          Porte rode for Riis from 2010-2011, Contador joined the team in 2011.

          Do the maths and get your facts right.

    • CC

      Or in other words, over regulate when you can’t trust. #mategate :)

      • Samaway

        Institutions are by nature regulative. No room for substantive relationships there! ;)

        • CC

          hmm… I think you’re probably pointing to jurisprudence… or let’s just say the fairness of competition. I can’t help to think this is potentially a bad umpires call, the penalty was fairly natural ~ 40 sec, but ultimately… this is dependant on beliefs and values. Which being Aussie, makes me totally biased, because I couldn’t be more proud of Clarky & Porte !

    • jakub

      This is spot on. Clarke wouldn’t have helped for example Contador in the same situation. That’s the reason why this rule exists.

    • Andy

      If this had happened to a rider in the leaders jersey, would the rule still have been applied, or, would “respect for the jersey” come into play where certain areas are a little murkier?

      And I can’t recall exactly what stage race it was, but I’m certain I have seen a team with no aims on GC or the stage assist another team in pulling back a break – I think it might have been for Cav’ at some point in the past, but can’t recall – shouldn’t this have been viewed in the same manner and both teams be given 2-10 minute penalties costing the stage?

      • Samaway

        The usual practice in the first case seems to be simply to wait for the leader while he is serviced rather than break the rule, although your point is well-taken, that the application of rules is not always straightforward!

        As for your second point, the rule in question directly address service rather than tactics. Moreover, working on the front is often ambiguous enough not to constitute a breach of sportsmanship–i.e., the team could be going for the stage win, even if its sprinter is clearly second-rate to a rider such as Cav.

  • Neuron1

    Just imagine that the case involved different actors: Aru or Uran flats, Orica has two riders around him. Does he get a wheel? A push off? Assistence working the paceline back to peloton? Or does he get a a passing nod as they fly by? Just imagine he gets a wheel from one of his 4 teammates nearby. Then he has only three helpers to pace him back while the two OGE riders sit on the back and don’t help. I was loving watching Contador, Aru and Porte ripping into each other at every opportunity and hoping the race wouldn’t be decided until the Colle de Finestre and Sestriere. The final outcome still remains to be determined. The rules are there for a purpose, and it’s not the first time they have been applied to this or any other race.

    • pauldr

      didn’t wiggins sit up and wait for cadel int the tour after the tacking incident?

    • The notion that no Orica or Aussie riders would help Aru is ridiculous. Of course they wouldn’t. But arguably there would be others who would. We see it all the time in race situations where Spaniards help Spaniards not of the same team. Or Italians help Italians. So what if Clarke or Matthews wouldn’t help Aru. It is entirely reasonable to expect that someone else would.

      • Neuron1

        The race is team against team. It’s not the Olympics, these are not nations battling it out. If the principle is sportsmanship, why wouldn’t OGE or an Aussie help Aru or Uran. A great sportsman would gladly help a competitor in the interst of the best overall race. Why not have someone from Tinkoff and Astana drop back to pace the unfortunate rider back to the peloton. (Hyperbole intended) If the tweeted rule above is accuarte, Porte and Clarke are lucky they weren’t tossed from the race, since multiple violations occurred; wheel change and push off.

        • a different ben

          Not to mention that if Orica-Greenedge had someone racing for the GC then it wouldn’t have happened.

      • Treadlie rider

        Riders from the same country are more likely to be mates over comrades. especially when they are of the same generation. Having said that there must be a reason why Simon Clarke is popular amongst the peloton, Perhaps he’s just a nice guy!

      • jakub

        Yes, but consider hypothetical example that this happens to a rider from a nation that is not well represented in the peloton, and at the same time neo-pro who has not any friends yet in the bunch. No one would stop and care about him. Obviously there is a lot of aussies, spaniards and italians. And that’s why this rule exists, to prevent such collusions.

  • Dylan

    So the real question, why didn’t Richie have a team mate alongside him with 7km remaining?

    • jules

      there’s a photo I saw that shows he did. it’s just that Clarke seems to have jumped in and offered his wheel first. of course this allowed Richie’s teammate to pace him to the finish line (which you kind of need a wheel for).

      • Neuron1

        Exactly. If he only had three teammates he may have lost more time. Was that the reason Clarke gave up his wheel instead? Before every jumps all over me I, like Sky, the way they race, their plan and their professionalism. I’m just trying to be objective.

        • Dylan

          No, he would have 3 team mates and Clarke. Much harder to penalise a group of riders working together to rejoin the race.

          • Neuron1

            My point. Clarke would have worked, but would he have buried himself the way Sky teamates would? I think he would have helped but it’s still not the same as a team. Had a Sky rider given up the wheel we wouldn’d be discussing this. Also, I would love to know the radio traffic between team cars, etc. Would be very interesting.

            • Richard Bruton

              Based on stages 2 and 3 Clarke seems to enjoy burying himself!!

      • Dylan

        I’m guessing his team mates heard about the flat over the radio and weren’t riding alongside him, otherwise they would have stopped much quicker than Clarke. He then should have had at least 7 team mates around him, like Sky would do for Froome at the TDF. Total disorganisation on the part of Sky.

        • Madblack

          Totally agree. Sky is completely at fault here.

      • krashdavage

        Well clearly Clarkey should have given the Sky teammate the wheel and Porte could have taken the Sky wheel. Why on earth didn’t they all think that in the heat of the moment? ;-)

        • Dave

          Pro cyclists aren’t as dumb as rowers, but they aren’t particularly smart either.

          The current generation may well be approaching the rowers though, many of them probably couldn’t wipe their own arse without being told how over team radio.

    • Pete

      Marginal loss

  • Paul N

    Ugh, I was watching the Giro with great interest. Now it can go to hell. What a disgrace!
    -1.

  • Gavin Adkins

    One thing is clear. Porte and Team SKY are consummate professionals. An error was made, a harsh decision resulted. No public shit-fit, just quiet resolve to get on with it and turn it around.

    • Cameron Harris

      I’m imaging the meme right now:

      “What Would Oleg Say?”

  • From an outsider’s point of view (I’m Canadian and have huge respect for Richie but no no emotional investment in his winning the Giro) it’s quite easy to see this is an application of a rule.

  • Michele

    No problems with the penalty. I just want consistency in its application.

    As some more wizened scribes have suggested elsewhere, you have to worry when rules can be enforced willy-nilly in a major sporting event where so much money is placed in bets.

  • sket

    Is two minutes a consistent penalty? Or just one deemed appropriate?

  • Cynic

    If a rule is to be read literally it can be challenged literally. As I understand it the rule relates to “lending or exchange”. Is that what occurred? If the wheel was given to Porte to keep,there was no lending involved. I didn’t see where Porte’s wheel ended up, but if it was not exchanged with Clarke’s wheel then there was no exchange. Appeal?

  • DB

    Simon Clarke yet again shows that he is one of the most classy bike riders Australia and OGE can call their own. And as for the rules… Whilst there is a clear infringement by Porte, why is 2 minutes is the appropriate penalty? Why not 1 minute? Why not 10 minutes? Can someone decode the mystery?

  • Nitro

    #boulietacks at the Giro. Sad.

  • Nitro

    Someone needs to have words with the Giro social media team.

    Regardless of the discussion about the rules, to tweet “This is the best sport in the world” alongside a photo of the wheel swap, and then hit him with (and tweet about) a significant penalty makes them look incompetent.

  • Arfy

    Here’s a question that someone with a good understanding of the rules might be able to help out with – if Clarke had combined with Bling to help pull Sky back up to the peleton, they would not be penalised for helping another team? They were only penalised because providing a wheel is written exclusively into the rules?

    • bikeinbc

      Rule also says that waiting for a rider dropped/accident (assume incident also) only permitted from riders on the same team. So essentially Jury could have also docked Bling for what he did too, even RP for 2 counts (taking wheel and pacing). Race footage showed MM was very obviously helping Porte and not just trying get back to the peloton himself for his own race. So penalty could still have been given if the OGE riders stopped doing their race (ie cruising in to save energy for next stage) and instead raced for the sole purpose of helping another team.

      • TV Time Tommy

        Hmmm. Seems to be opening the proverbial pandora’s box by having a rule like that. Don’t teams collude all the time in stage races – e.g. help bring back the break one day as a favour, so that favour can be repayed later on? I can’t think of one specific incident, but recall all kinds of ‘assistance’ happening between teams.

      • Arfy

        But it’s never been applied when GC contenders have waited for their rivals who’ve had a mechanical mishap in the past. It would be setting a difficult precedent if they selectively applied it now.

      • Alex H

        I’ve only read rule 2.3.012, but that rule seems to prohibit the act of lending a tubular tyre, not the act of receiving it. It also prohibits the pushing of another rider. So why is Porte penalised at all?

        Granted, I haven’t read any sections that determine what penalties are applicable to people involved in the lending/receiving/pushing, but as per the rule, I don’t see what Richie Porte has done wrong.

        • Richard Bruton

          penalties section says the punishment is applied to “both riders”

    • TV Time Tommy

      Exactly. That’s the part I don’t get. What, exactly, constitutes ‘non-regulation assistance’ ?? Is towing a fellow national on a rival team back to the peloton deemed OK – not punishable – because it is ‘regulation’, i.e. accepted practice? Or is it just too hard to prove? Maybe because this was so overt and obvious in terms of assistance, the commissaires felt obliged to act.

  • Sam

    There is so much enjoyment is watching pro cycling, but this encourages everything i hate about pro cycling’s recent past, poor sportsmanship.

  • krashdavage

    That “cut and paste” of the rule under Jeremy Whittle’s tweet doesn’t specifically mention wheels does it? “Tubular tyres or bicycles”. Is wheels written elsewhere?

    • Arfy

      I assume the tubular was on the wheel. Maybe they could have got away with it if Clarke was using a clincher? :)

  • markpa

    A sport battered by a poor culture of unethical behaviour, omerta and bullying (as the public sees it) decides to punish a gesture of good sportsmanship with an onerous penalty.
    There’s no proportionality, especially compared to the real safety issues as highlighted by PR railway crossing or last years Stelvio.

    • a different ben

      Good comment. Plus the act wasn’t to gain an advantage over other riders, but to limit a potentially large disadvantage.

  • Michele

    I’m really looking for Paris-Roubaix 2016 ….

    Wheel exchanging between teams is a common occurrence. And it’s not done secretly either.

    Several teams will collude together and share spare wheels at the end of each section of pave. I’m not going to bother to look for it, but I even remember reading this year how a rider was stranded and he got a spare wheel from a competing team.

    And then there is Jen Voigt and the 2010 TdF. He rode the last 15 kms of a stage on a kids bike a fan gave him. We applauded the spirit of cycling then. The UCI made it a ‘feel-good’ story at the time. No penalty for Jens.

    So in short, rule breaches such as the above don’t really apply unless you’re a serious contender at that race.

    • Dave

      Michael Rogers once completed a TDU stage win on a spectator’s bike.

      • Michele

        I forgot all about that. And I was there.

        Well, if the UCI can retrospectively disqualify a rider for cheating, then I think they should do likewise with Rogers!!!

        Come on Mike Turtur. The ball is in your court.

        • Dave

          But that’s legal, accepting mechanical help from a rival team is not.

          And in any case Turtur, while being a fully licensed commissaire, was not a commissaire appointed to that race.

          • Conconi – The Original Master

            It is not legal. It’s falls under non-regulation mechanical assistance.

            See rule book: 12.1.040 Section 20.2

            That can lead to be eliminated from the race.

  • KAOS

    I’d like to see the whole of the OGE team support Team Sky by ‘Ride for Ritchie’ until the missing 2′ is restored…

  • Michele

    If anyone wants a laugh, I suggest they read rule 12.1.040.

    The UCI do a great job of:

    Enforcing the ‘don’t ride on footpath / bike path’ and the cobbled classics. The Penalty? A fine or disqualification.

    Passing a level crossing already down = eliminated.

    Wear a non-transparent rain jacket [can’t see the dossard pinned on back] for 3 stages [i.e. 3 warnings] = eliminated. I hope the Dolomites aren’t too wet this year.

    Pushing off from a car [which includes the good old bidon hand sling] = 10 seconds per offense.

    I think the UCI just lost the fight against doping. All their resources will go into enforcing these rules.

  • Matt

    Wouldn’t the spirit of the rule be to prevent gaining an advantage (e.g. teams colluding)? Whereas this infraction was clearly done in the heat of the moment to limit a disadvantage. This distinction seems to be a common factor in many of the overlooked UCI rules (using the caravan to get back to the peleton etc), but apparently not in this case. As widely pointed out this is a very inconsistent application of the rulebook.

    Also the penalty is hugely disproportionate – two minutes against Clarke (the instigator of the “offence”) would mean almost nothing to him but two minutes from Porte could easily translate to millions in forgone salary, sponsorships etc. that may come from being a Grand Tour winner.

    I think the penalty for acts of violence against other riders during a stage race is only 200 CHF and 1 min penalty so Porte would have been better off if Clarke had given him a slap.

  • Dave

    Karma’s a bitch hey? Shouldn’t have spent all those years riding for dodgy DS’s like Mr 60% and Yates.

    • Conconi – The Original Master

      Pathetic comment Dave.

  • Michele

    As a workmate – who doesn’t follow cycling – said to me this morning.

    Your sport only makes the mainstream media when something goes wrong.”

    He then used the [obvious] examples of the many doping positives.

    But he also made this comment: the only bits he can remember from this Giro so far:

    1. A guy knocking himself out coming down a mountain, and a crazy looking fan throwing him around like a rag doll
    2. Some guy getting his arm broken by a crazy fan’s camera
    3. Porte being penalized for help by another rider

    I asked him if he realised an Australian team has won 2 stages in the race and led it with 3 different riders. He didn’t.

    Now granted, Porte did deserve the penalty [I just want consistency in the applying of rules], but I imagine the UK press and AUS press will be running this story all day …

    Sometimes cycling does a bad job of selling itself.

  • raphanatic

    it was one of the beautiful moments in cycling to see help coming for Richie when his Giro chances were on the line over a flat tyre- such sportsmanship you so rarely see in any sport at the highest level. Its now one of the ugliest moments in sports admin – to ruin a leaders chances by applying such a rule when so many other rules are ignored and there were no gains made, he’d already lost so much time. Its hard to express the loss of faith- what do the organisers think the sport is about. Its PR disaster for the Giro and the sport of cycling. Something very precious has died with this decision.

  • Simon

    The great grandson of the boy who worked the bellows at the village forge to assist Eugene Christophe mend his broken forks in the 1913 Tour de France, has just said on twitter ” Rules are rules!”

    • CB

      Haha! Comment of the day goes to you sir!

  • Michi Ryan

    Come on guys it’s not only Aussies that help each other out – Astana riders share blood all the time.

    • Michael Sproul

      It’s not against the rules though, they’re on the same team…

  • nicklothian

    “The lending or exchanging of tubular tyres”

    If they want to play at strict application of the rules, I wonder if there was any chance that either Porte or Clarke was using a clincher tyre?

  • James Rider

    What if a rider pats a rider on the back on another team? Surely they would get penalised because germs/sweat/bodily secretions would be exchanged from 1 team to another…

  • Ian Adams

    I believe that the ruling goes much deeper than just a stupid decision. When Richie flatted the Jury ruled that ALL cars be removed from his path thus rendering him without the standard sort of assistance that team cars provide in that situation. I have been watching cycling for 20 years. Never seen that happen. Then the time penalty? Co-incidence? No I think the UCI are doing this because they don’t want an Australian to win. They want a Contador fairy tale of 2 Grand Tours in a season because it’s good for ratings and will bring bucket loads of money and cycling is a European sport after all. Think of how many people will watch the TDF if Contador wins this one and then goes for another one as favorite? It would not be beyond the bounds of commons sense to say that the UCI has now rigged this Giro to ensure a Contador victory. They know that Contador will beat Aru in the team trial but Ritchie would have flogged him silly making him a real threat to the fairy tale. So how do they fix it? They turn one of the worlds most amazing sportsmanship gestures into a punishment. For years the UCI have rigged and controlled races and all for the money. They LOVED Armstrong and the money he brought. The USADA got him not the UCI. Today is no different. It’s about money and about power.

  • Cameron Harris

    Lucky we don’t have disc brakes in the Pro peleton, or this wheel swap plan would never work!

  • Muse-ette

    Blings pacing would be technically against the rules but it’s very hard to prove. He could argue he was using the Sky train to get back on himself. but the wheel change was on camera, and the rule (and penalty) is black and white, so there can be no arguments. I find Brailsfords statement that “No one was trying to gain an unfair advantage” a bit rich though. Of course he was gaining an unfair advantage. How much more time would he have lost if he’d had to wait for a legitimate wheel change and would that have meant one less team mate available to pace him back on. Sky have form for the professional foul. In this case it’s backfired on them

  • Craig

    OK so this might be a dumb idea, but the rule specifies ‘the lending or exchanging of tubular tires’……..what if OGE presented the commissaires with the clincher they ‘loaned’ Porte and asked the organisers to prove otherwise?

  • hoplomachus

    As always there is more than one side to the argument. Sure “rules are rules” and I don’t have a problem with that. The problem is the rule itself and inconsistent application of various rules.

    – Does the rule itself make sense? Probably not as it discourages sportsmanship.

    – How far does the rule extend? It’s meant to stop teams colluding but where do you draw the line? Should we impose time penalties for riders sharing bidons and food for example? Again, probably not. Actually definately not.

    – If we enforce this rule then all rules should be strictly enforced. Drafting team cars is the first that comes to mind. Oh and the level crossing incident in Paris Roubaix where no riders were disqualified but have in other years and other races.

    There is no easy answer but in this case we need to look at changing the rule first and foremost.

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