In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Barbin wins sixth stage in Langkawi, Gibbons remains in lead; Aristi wins Tropicale Amissa Bongo opener; Sergio Henao wins Colombian road title; Bike Pure: No testing done at recent UCI cyclocross races, says riders offered drugs at events; Peloton shaking its collective head over Sagan; Directors upset over sidewalk riding in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Vanmarcke points to Sagan for missing out on Omloop win; Quintana on disc brakes: heavier, less aero, and dangerous; Tony Martin unable to finish Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne after hard crash; Patrick Lefevere follows racing action from helicopter; Boonen taking early season setbacks in stride; British Government backpedals on reforms for injured cyclists to claim compensation; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour preview: Alice Barnes; On-board highlights from the Abu Dhabi Tour; Pedestrian tries to kick cyclist off bicycle.
Your Tuesday Daily News Digest
There was heated debate over the use of sidewalks and bike paths on the cobbled sections of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, something that has been done in the past but that race organisers and the UCI specifically targeted to eliminate this year. Riders were threatened with disqualification if caught, even following the race with the use of TV. However, race leaders were seen doing just that at critical moments of the race, while other groups chasing were forced to ride the cobbles at the direction of commissaries, drawing outrage from some team directors.
— Edward Theuns (@EdwardTheuns) February 25, 2017
At the centre of the controversy was a section of the parcours that consisted of three cobbled climbs — the Taaienberg, Eikenberg and the Wolvenberg. The recent paving of the shoulder on the Eikenberg drew some laughs as a local resident attempted to thwart the repairs. Following that section there was more pavé on the Ruiterstraat and cobbles of Mater, which also included paved sides.
Teams were notified that riding the asphalt on these sections would result in disqualification, but the first groups through used the smoother sides. Later groups were forced to ride the cobbles when a UCI moto-commissaire parked on the side, blocking access.
“For two kilometres they rode on the sidewalk,” Trek-Segafredo DS Dirk Demol told Cyclingnews. “Two days ago, there was a meeting with the UCI and they explicitly said that from now on they would enforce the rule. Yesterday they repeated their message again, adding that they would act when checking the TV images after the race. During the race today Philippe Mariën said explicitly that at kilometre 148 it was forbidden to use the sidewalk, that it was obliged to ride on the cobbles. The first riders rode on the sidewalk and our riders rode on the cobbles.”
“Something was said about it,” race winner Greg Van Avermaet said at the post-race press conference. “They tried the same thing four, five years ago in Kuurne at the Varentstraat. The lead group rode on the path and the peloton rode on the cobbles. In Flanders it’s just impossible to apply the rules. They have to do it like in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, then nobody is able to ride on it. This way … Everybody is on their limit. Nobody would reach the finish in Ghent. You would have to take out everybody from the race.”
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