There were two interesting rulings this past weekend by the UCI. The first was that Niki Terpstra, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, was disqualified from the Eneco Tour, because of using elbows to fight for position during the race. This wasn’t in the last 200 meters, but during the race itself.
This is the first time I can remember, nearly forever, maybe since Mark Renshaw was kicked out of the Tour a few years back, that the officials has addressed this elbowing and head butting thing. They finally kicked someone out for it. I have to applaud that. They said that his elbowing was “deemed excessive and dangerous”. Isn’t all elbowing excessive and dangerous, and if that is the case, then anyone doing it intentionally should be DQ’d.
I wrote a post after Cavendish crashed out of this years Tour about how stupid this contact was getting. It eventually made its way to Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. I sent him back a long email about my experiences in NRC races, where it is so common that it is nearly an accepted practice. He thought that maybe they could put cameras facing down the start/finish line stretch, to record the incidences. I told him that it happens everywhere, not just in the last 200 meters.
Eventually, the UCI is going to have to address the contact issue. The sport got along fine when contact was frowned upon. Now it is just the opposite. There is even a phrase, argy bargy, that describes, and sort of, makes light of these actions. It needs to stop.
And how about Johathan Tiernan-Locke’s excuse for having screwed up blood during a biological passport check. He said that he went on a drinking binge, with his girlfriend, celebrating his new contract with Sky, or maybe being selected for the British World Championship team, and consummed “33 units” of alcohol.
For one, I wonder how he kept count of the 33 units? Seems like after 10-15 “units, the count would just get lost. 2nd, why would the guy expect anyone rational to believe that he would binge drink and not eat anything but painkillers, 2 days before the World Road Championships. If he really did that, maybe he deserved a two year suspension.
But, the UCI didn’t believe him. They stated – “There was no dispute that the abnormalities in the sample were consistent with the use of an erythropoietic stimulant which had been discontinued approximately 10 to 14 days before the sample was taken.” So, they kicked him out for two years.