Disqualification for Elbowing/Binge Drinking Excuse Doesn’t Work

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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.

14 thoughts on “Disqualification for Elbowing/Binge Drinking Excuse Doesn’t Work

  1. Zack

    Were on te same page that elbowing and contact to gain position is illegal BUT elbowing/leaning to protect your bars and keep others from crashing is a necessity. Contact happens all the time without the intention to use it to move up so how would you enforce a no contact rule when in many races you have to lean and bump to keep from crashing with innocent intentions. Very subjective.

  2. Bolas Azules

    Leaning and contact is part of the sprint game. If you don’t like it you have a choice, get to the back of the group. Leaning, touching, elbows…keep it safe. The bigger problem in today’s peloton is the bike set-up which is very dangerous in tight groups and for cornering. UCI would be better served restricting the differential between saddle height and the top of the bars. Today’s bikes are a bike handling nightmare at the very least.

  3. Francisco Mancebo

    you call that contact? sissy fight is more like it

    How’s the Superman finish line move at Cat 3 races working out these days, Carl?

  4. Jason

    You write about doping and you get a 100 responses. You write about something that could affect the majority of cyclists and hardly a peep. Moving your elbow to let someone know you’re there is one thing, which I’m pretty sure you don’t think that’s the issue, but using your elbow as a weapon should result in a disqualification. As competitors we need to stop thinking that we are the wussies if we notify an official of similar bad behaviour.

  5. channel_zero

    elbowing/leaning to protect your bars and keep others from crashing is a necessity.

    How and when does this happen? I’ll give you a hint: “I don’t know how it came to be me and another guy were fighting for room for one. It’s a mystery.”

    Pretending that’s not another version of gaining position in 99% of the incidents is dishonest. What exactly it is you are fighting for at the industrial park crit nobody sees? You probably still have to go to work at a regular job Monday morning too making the behaviour all the more absurd.

  6. channel_zero

    Leaning and contact is part of the sprint game.

    On the WorldTour? Yeah, probably. At your local industrial park crit? No. There were rules in the book to discourage weekend warrior d-bags from doing this and they have gone unenforced at least in my region. But, my saddle is level!

  7. Mark

    It looks like Terpstra gets upset because Wynants is throwing his bike around and Terpstra takes some unintentional contact from him. He uses his elbow to touch Wynants hip but Wynants doesn’t really react. Terpstra them overreacts. I don’t see this as a contact issue. This is a temper problem. Terpstra throws a little tantrum.

    I agree contact should be avoided. It’s quite easy to fight for wheels without contact.

  8. Brian

    I’d have to say that the Terpstra/Wynants is a bit over the top and appears to be an actual fight more than anything. They know they’ll get dq’ed if they start swinging, so they do what they can to get their message across to one another. I would be very interested to see the rest of the video because I think the other riders probably did a bit of self policing by telling these two to mind their manners and get on with their job.If these two were to hit the deck, they would have taken down the fron of the race and there would have been repercussions by fellow riders and officials alike.

    In the Renshaw incident, I think what he did weas justified and he was wrongly thrown off the race. Dean is coming fast from the right and attemptiing to forcibly move Renshaw out of his position in front of The Manx Missile. That’s a no-go and Renshaw had to do that or suffer the consequences, which would be a severe tongue lashing by Cav and his DS at best and a gnarly crash at worst. Renshaw is paid handsomely to stay in position in front of Cavendish and you can bet that Cavendish thanked him for the leadout. Renshaw-1 Officials-0

    Sometimes you have to throw elbows or butt heads in order to keep from crashing or losing position in the race. Never forget that it is bike racing. It’s a brutal sport at times and it gets rough occaisionally. There are guys who basically bully their way through the peloton. Should you just move aside and let them go on to victory? Or do you fight back? If you’re a pro, you either fight back or you’ll be looking for a job.If you’re an amateur, you paid money to enter the race. Unless you like just riding along in a big pack for giggles, then you better put up a fight, too. It’s a competitive and at times, very physical sport. Always has been and always will be.

    That said, officials need to be on the ball and call it when they see it and make the riders pay for going too far. Amateurs do emulate the pros’ good habits and bad ones as well. With today’s ever widening tv coverage, the bad sportsmanship gets seen more than ever. Regrettably, that holds viewers attention until the next commercial and don’t expect it to go away because you’ll be disappointed. Welcome to the jungle.

  9. gerrycurl

    Whatever perceived slight that the Omega Pharma guy suffered initially, his reaction against the guy in green was totally out of line and should be DQ’d. And then the guy in green took the bait and also reacted in a way that deserved being DQ’d. Actually, both should serve a short suspension.

  10. Larry T.

    The jury should have relegated both of these guys if for nothing else than being stupid enough to engage in this at the front of the group and the TV cameras! I’m happy CAS tossed out J-T-L’s silly “dog ate my homework” excuse. He oughta get an extra year of sanction for insulting the intelligence of the CAS! How did the masterminds at SKY overlook this guy’s numbers? Were they just perfect before this single incident? I realize they somehow missed all the doping connections with riders and doctors BEFORE they won LeTour, but since then they claim to be squeeky clean….except for Tramadol, dodgy TUE’s, some inhaler issues and now this.

  11. jprum

    Give me a break “brutal sport”. For the pro’s yes for the rest of us I don’t think so. You want brutal come spend 6 months with me working as a Hotshot.


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