Michael Schär DQed from Flanders for littering

Michael Schar at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic.

by Dane Cash

photography by Cor Vos

Michael Schär was disqualified from the Tour of Flanders on Sunday after throwing away a bottle in a non-designated area.

The disqualification comes after a new framework of rules went into effect on April 1 preventing littering and allowing for serious penalties for riders who break the rules.

Schär was off the back following a mechanical with some 110 km to go when he tossed a bidon in the direction of a group of spectators at the side of the road, not in a section designated for getting rid of waste. He spent the next few minutes working to rejoin the group he had been in, but moments later, he was out of the race altogether.

Under new UCI rules, “throwing waste outside the litter zones” is punishable by a fine of between 200 and 1,000 Swiss francs and 15 UCI points, with elimination or disqualification possible in one-day races. Those rules were announced in February and went into effect at the start of this month.

Schär’s expulsion from the Tour of Flanders makes him the first rider to have been kicked out of the race under the newly applied rules.

His disqualification made him the third rider, however, to be disqualified from the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. Yevgeniy Fedorov and Otto Vergaerde were both kicked out of the Tour of Flanders less than half an hour into the race after an incident in which Vergaerde elbowed Fedorov and then Fedorov tried to swerve into Vergaerde.

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