Some Rules Aren’t Made to be Broken

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling, Racing on by .

Part of the reason I was attracted to the sport of bicycle racing  was because of the lack of officiating that the sport needs to run correctly.  Back when I started racing, the riders and the officials were mostly the same people.  I didn’t really know any official that wasn’t, or hadn’t been, a racer.  Everyone got along great and very rarely did an official had to make a call that changed the outcome of a race.

I’ll state it first and foremost, I’m not a big rule guy.  I like cycling because that we start, race and the first rider across the line wins.  No subjective opinion there.  Cross the line first and you win.

Many of the rules of the sport are not really rules, but guidelines.  And the guidelines are differentiated from the rules by everyone involved in the sport.  The riders, officials and most other people associated in the race know what rules are nearly never enforced, thus guidelines, and what rules are pretty much set in stone.  And the ones set in stone should, pretty much, never be overlooked.

Over the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, two rules at different races, weren’t enforced.  I was watching the first race, Redlands, and while I was racing a 100 mile gravel road race on Sunday, heard about the 2nd incident.  Both rulings, made by the officials, were completely wrong.  They crossed the boundary of the rules.  These rules are the rules.

First incident was at the Redland’s Criterium.  The race leader, Phil Gaimon, clipped a pedal or something, coming out of the 2nd to last corner and fell.  He was virtually at the front of the race, his team had been there the last hour or so setting tempo.  When he fell, a lot of other GC riders either fell or got caught up too.  The problem here is that there were just 5 laps to go, thus the free lap rule was over.

The free lap rule is one of the rules that is a rule.  Everyone knows the rule.  I know the rule, so well, that when I fell at National Criterium Championships last year and didn’t abide by it, I rode over to the officials and told them I broke it and should be disqualified, which I was.

It really doesn’t matter if the riders involved in the crash were the race leaders or the tail end of the pack.  When you crash after the free lap rule is over, you either chase, or in a stage race situation, you take a prorated time.  This is the way it has always been and it is a good rule.

Phil had to have known how many laps there were to go.  And I’m not bagging on Phil, but when he fell, he just casually got up, the European pro method of crashing, and didn’t do anything to get on his bike quickly.  Nearly 3/4 of the field was still behind him when he was standing there brushing off, and there wouldn’t have been any issue of him getting back into the race.

But, no, he and a bunch of other guys, casually ride up the start finish line to find out that the free laps were over.  A group actually rode past the pit, then did a u-turn on the course, thus riding back against the course, which is against the  “rules” too, and then were told they were done.  As Phil was interviewed, he was funny, as always, saying that “Someone fell, it was probably me”.  That was great.

These guys, all of them, should have had prorated times.  And the ones riding back against the course should have been disqualified.  The 2nd rule, riding against the course, sometimes comes close to being a guideline, but not at such a big race, such as Redlands, that has two pits and is streaming live.

Here in the US, we, as we the sport, have done everything in our powers to make criterium racing 2nd tier bike racing.  And the reason is because in Europe they don’t really race criteriums, so it isn’t considered important enough to give consideration.

But, sorry, it is the way the American fans like to watch the sport live.  So the promoters, historically, have always had at least one criterium in each National caliber stage race.  The teams have figured out a way to control criteriums.  I’m not going off on that, but the tempo setting they do, they break many rules, but the officials really can’t see it, so it persists.

But for the officials to just arbitrarily change the free lap rule is way overstepping their rank. The rule isn’t changeable.  All the riders in the race know it, the announcers know it, everyone knows it.  Do you think if the tail end of the race would have crashed, they would have given those guys the same time as the field?  Absolutely not.

Sorry, but the criterium was part of the stage race and the crash didn’t occur in the last 3 km of the race, so you chase.  Same with a road race, if you crash outside the 3 km mark in a road race, you get up as quick as you can and chase.  You don’t crash at 7 km to go and think that they will just change the 3 km rule to 7 for you because they want you to still be in contention to win the race.

Someone will win the race regardless, just not you, because you fell, on your own and made a very bad decision not to get on your bike quick and get back in the field.  I suppose I would have more sympathy for Phil, and maybe some of the other riders, if his bike was destroyed and he couldn’t ride it, or he was hurt bad enough that he couldn’t get up, but that wasn’t the case.  And it doesn’t really matter if I’m sympathetic or not.  The rule is the rule.

The 2nd issue over the weekend, was at Paris-Roubaix.  There has been lots of controversy over it already, in the press, but it was the railroad crossing fiasco.  That situation was handled so poorly by the officials, that they should have to serve a time out in the corner and probably miss a recess too.

The railroad crossing rule is a rule.  And every rider, of the caliber that races Paris-Roubaix, knows the rule concerning railroad crossings.

So, here is the peloton of riders, barreling towards a railroad crossing that is coming down, and they don’t stop.  And they don’t stop because of why?  Because of the very thing that happened.  They thought that enough of them had cheated and that they wouldn’t be called out on it, which is exactly what a “race jury”, whatever the fuck that means, did.

Here is what Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider, Björn Leukemans, said after the race to Cyclingnews.    He said, “Actually, I did something wrong, but at the moment I crossed, it was certainly not life-threatening. It is slightly different for riders who were in the peloton and rode around when the barriers were all the way down. On the images I saw a rider slalom between the barriers. Of course that’s playing with fire. “

Then he said,  “It is very difficult to determine who exactly kept riding. You must also put yourselves in our place. We are fully concentrated on the race. In addition, we know that there are no clear rules or procedures in such a situation.  You don’t know what the jury will decide, if you stop you let that group go.”

Björn is wrong here.  There is a very clear rule pertaining to the situation.  And that rule mandates that the riders stop at a railroad crossing or they are disqualified.  No gray area there.  Break the rule, you are done.

But, once again, some really bad officials, made a really bad call and made a rule, pretty much written in stone, into a guideline.  The reason Björn thinks the rule isn’t clear is because of very rulings such as this.  It is much less clear rule than it was last Friday.

I can hardly wait until it happens again, at a race such as Paris-Roubaix, and then the riders that they do  disqualify, come back and sue the officials , race and UCI, saying that they let it happen before at Pari-Roubaix, so why are they enforcing the rule to me now.

And they have a valid point.  The rule is for the riders safety.  Sure, the organizers need to pay a lot more attention to the train schedules, in Europe, but these things are going to happen everywhere.  And when it does happen, you, as a rider, don’t break it, because, even if you consider it to be safe, because you won’t be able to ride any more, because you are not in the race, you are disqualified.

I think that every rider that, on video, who broke the rule, and the law, by going under the barriers, should be ticketed and removed from the results.  This rule is very important to to the sport and should not be overlooked.  The precedent that has been set, from this “jury decision”, endangers the riders and the sport.  Nothing like a couple famous cyclists getting hit by a TVG to make an important race just disappear from the sport.  Not to mention the dead riders.

Not enforcing the train rule is something that perturbs me.  I had an issue with the same rule, and wrote about it a few years ago.  The officials at that race, made a subjective ruling too, that cost me a major stage race win and lost me thousands of dollars in prize money.

The rule isn’t subjective.  The rule is a rule and it is not up to any “jury of officials” to mess with,  at any  race.

Okay, like I said, I’m not a big rule guy, but these two incidences can not be overlooked.  I agree with these two rules, that are in the books, and it isn’t up to any given officials, at any given race, whether it is Redlands or Paris-Roubaix,  to overlook them.

Two very bad calls at two completely difference bike races.


USAC Rule 3D5. Free Lap Rule. Riders shall normally cover the distance of the race regardless of mishaps and must make up any distance lost on their own ability unless a free lap is granted for mishaps. Unless the official race announcement states that no free laps will be allowed, one free lap may be granted for each mishap subject to the following rules. On courses shorter than 1 km, two free laps may be allowed for a given mishap. (a) Bicycle inspection and repairs must be made in an official repair pit. If announced in advance by the Chief Referee, 1 riders are permitted to cut the course to get to a pit, but only while the Free Lap Rule is in effect. There should be repair pits at intervals of 1 km around the course. (b) There must be a referee stationed in each repair pit to determine if the mishap was a legitimate one and if the rider is entitled to a free lap. (c) A rider who is granted a free lap must return to the race in the position held at the time of the mishap. A rider who was in a group shall return at the rear of the same group the next time around. A rider returning to the race after a free lap shall be ineligible for sprint prizes for one lap thereafter. (d) A rider granted a free lap must re-enter the race before the final 8km of the race; after that point in the race a rider in the pit is losing ground on the field


UCI Rule –  Level crossings 2.3.034 It shall be strictly forbidden to cross level crossings when the barrier is down. Apart from risking the penalty for such an offence as provided by law, offending riders shall be eliminated from the competition by the commissaires.



Here’s a link to a pretty good still photo sequence of the instance.  In the photos, it looks like the whole field was warned before the crossing, as the barrier arms are starting down, so there must have been lights and bells before.

35 thoughts on “Some Rules Aren’t Made to be Broken

  1. Calvin Jones

    Great topics. I do not envy those officials making these calls. They must be made quickly and fairly. I always thought there should be a peer review board, similar to what baseball and football has. To my understanding, neither the USAC nor UCI has such a system.
    Regarding the train and PR, was there an attempt to neutralize the field and break as well when the issue occurred? Seeing those riders sneak through and knowing death-on-steel-wheels was coming frightened me no end….just think of the bike damage!

  2. Jim

    I agree with you on just about every point except one.
    “Many of the rules of the sport are not really rules, but guidelines.”
    On this, IMO, you are not correct. The “rules” do exist. However, when the are enforced selectively, like both of these cases, then they become guidelines. BIG difference.
    I officiate HS and college stuff in a different sport and the rules are very clear. I do not get to pick the rules I agree with or that I want to enforce. That is what happened in both of these cases.
    I will say that we attend LOTS of clinics and meetings to stay current with the rules. From the time I was a USCF official, that was never the case. People have minimal to no training and have to “wing it” at races.
    I watched both events and I could not see any logic to the decision at Redlands. I knew they were outside the free lap point so why weren’t they chasing??
    Regarding the train, the announcers kept saying that it would not be possible to determine who went around the gates. Really?? High def cameras, have a motorcycle go to the front of that group and stop them, and probably several other methods. The stupidity of going around those gates in amazing.
    Again, I agree with you. However rules are not just guidelines, it just takes balls to enforce them.

  3. K

    Seems like there are two easy solutions to the P-R train problem. Either have marshals at each rail crossing to stop or dq riders, or build a flyover.

  4. Bolas Azules

    I don’t know. All rules seem to be open for interpretation (including who dopes and how) these days.

    In the ‘spirit of competition’ is it such a big deal to just give the guys the same time because they crashed a couple miles too early? Yes if they could have planned their crash a little bit better it wouldn’t have been a problem but those things are a bit unpredictable. You want to be cooperative to the situation and to the riders to keep the best field and the best race going.

    As for the train crossing. I would have to say the race organizers were left with a little egg on their collective faces and they had to make due with what they had failed to do. I am 100% sure that the train that came by and interrupted the race comes by every day at the same exact time. All of the people that live withing a kilometer of the crossing can tell anyone the exact time the train would be there (European trains are not on the ‘it comes when it comes’ schedule that American trains are on) and the race organizers knew what time that train would be there. So to divert the debate that they should have had a crew of gendarmes standing there to halt the crossing of the tracks they simply said “Our bad, let’s keep going.” Because it was the big group near the front of the race with many favorites they made it work on the road and they did a very good job of it.

    In both cases there is a little bit of the “give the people what they want,” just like in the NFL when they make all these rules where the defensive players cannot be mean to the opposing Quarterback and hurt them – they want their star players to be seen for the overall benefit of the game. Calling everything by the rule book hurts the best of the competition and it inevitably hurts the sport….just at a time it needs as much help as it can get.

  5. Vincent

    Jim, I basically agree with you, if you have a rule enforce it or get ride of it.
    USACycling seems to like making rules that they don’t enforce because they sound like a good idea, for example. the Code of Conduct all riders agree to when getting a license. The killer line is at the end.
    “(q) Failure of any member who is a party to or witnesses any violation(s) contained in the above stated USA Cycling Code of Conduct to report the specific violation to USA Cycling immediately.”

  6. Bill V

    Phil should have been DQ’d. If the officials in the USA don’t treat professional cycling like a legitimate sport, the cycling public and certainly the general public won’t. The sport ceases to be a sport if there’s no evenly applied officiating. It becomes a novelty act.

  7. Jim

    “Calling everything by the rule book hurts the best of the competition”
    I have to ask if you have ever officiated anything at any time?
    If not, you have no idea what you are talking about.
    The “best of the competition” is when everyone plays by the same rules and the outcome is whatever it is.

    “In the ‘spirit of competition’ is it such a big deal to just give the guys the same time because they crashed a couple miles too early?”
    So, in your mind, when is the point at which it IS too early?
    3K? 5K? 20K?
    As Steve pointed out, the rule is 5 laps to go. That should be the same for everyone. I can bet that had the leader been told that the time for a free lap had passed, he would have been on his bike really quickly.

    I always remember that to not make a decision is to make a decision.
    IOW, by doing nothing, you have done something.
    No official, in any sport, should make a decision (either way) because it is the popular choice.
    Make decisions based on rules. If the rules are not fair, let the powers in charge address that by changing them.

    Vincent is correct. If you have made a rule, enforce it. If you are not going to enforce it, there is no reason to have the rule. Either way is fine with me, just be consistent.

    BTW, comparing this to doping is kind of apple vs oranges. The are legal ramifications regarding doping. Heck, the realistic truth is that if it were not for legal involvement in France, nothing would have ever been done. The UCI, as was pointed out above, is a joke especially with regards to doping.

  8. Wildcat

    Having spent half my life racing and being an official I feel comfortable saying this. Most of the time it’s a pleasure to officiate road races. However, those times really suck when you are required to make a decision right away – when you know that no matter what you decide, you’re going to be bombarded by a large group of whiny cyclists. And road racers – I know, myself included – when things don’t go our way – are the whiniest bunch of egomaniacs on the planet. And heaven forbid one of them won something – they don’t want to wait for the protest period – they don’t want to be in the podium picture – they want to be paid right away so that they can throw a fit and leave the race immediately.

  9. Wildcat

    Also, I didn’t mention that I agree with Steve. All of those riders who crossed the tracks should be ticketed and get a DQ, but again – officials need more training – and testicular fortitude.

  10. Steve Tilford Post author

    Hey- I just got this from the Chief Referee from Redlands. Phil is a good guy and was nice to take his time to help clarify the situation.

    I told him what bugged me is those guys that fell, or didn’t fall, they didn’t seem to have any urgency to get back into the race, very late.

    Here is Phil’s response –

    Hi Steve. – I was CR at Redlands so I thought I’d drop you a note to give my take on the call. There are TWO rules involved here, and they conflict to a degree.

    You describe the general free lap rule well. If this were a one day crit, these guys would have earned a free lap (mishap), but still would have had to chase because they would not have completed repairs before 8k to go. I think people are familiar enough with that, and as such the RBC ruling is confusing.

    The other rule is what is usually called the “3k” rule in stage races. Up until last year, it was applied in criteriums such that there was a five lap “twilight zone” when a rider with a mishap got no protection from granting of either a free lap or 3k field time.

    This rule was modified for criteriums on stage races about a year ago – now, the field time is applied for mishaps occurring after the end of free laps – at 8k to go, not 3k.

    Officials normally assess the free lap from the time a rider appears in the pit, to allow adequate time for repairs. In this case, that would have been less than 8k to go. Whether officials like the rule or not doesn’t matter – the INTENT of the rule is to keep in this case 13 riders from re-entering in the last couple minutes of what at Redlands is a very fast and technical crit.

    If one wants to get technical, then yes, I allowed a 150 meter extension of the 8k rule rather than add 2 minutes to the yellow jersey (and most of GC contenders). The rules are in conflict and my job is to rule on points not addressed by the regs.

    In this case, the intention of the rule is clear, and the decision was based on a desire to make sure the race was decided on the road by the riders, and not on the jury room.

    That said, I enjoy your blog, and the discussions one finds there.

    Phil Miller

  11. H Luce

    Perhaps the UCI should enact the Darwin Guideline: “If a rider is hit by a train, he or she will be disqualified immediately. If the train is a TGV, the remains will be disqualified, and no insurance money will be paid. The rider’s team will be responsible for collecting the body parts and cleaning the train, and for compensating the train crew for PTSD.”

  12. Steve Tilford Post author

    And this is the rule Phil was referring to –

    (ii) A rider who suffers a mishap in the last three
    kilometers of a road race stage or after free laps
    have ended in a criterium stage shall be given the
    same finish time as the riders he was with at the
    time of the mishap, provided that the mishap was
    observed or otherwise verified by a race official. The
    rider shall be given his actual place across the finish
    line, or last in the stage if he is unable to cross the

  13. Aki Sato

    I tell people that when they buy a license they’re agreeing to follow the rules. Don’t want to follow the rules? Don’t get a license. That’s pretty simple.

    I agree that there are those inviolable rules that cannot effect the outcome of a race. Free lap, 3 k to go (formerly 1 k to go), railroad crossing. Another weird “no time gap” thing was that Tour of CA crash a while back, when a bunch of the field crashed including overall leader Levi. I don’t know how they did it but everyone got the same time or something weird like that. I can’t remember but I think Gaimon would have been a beneficiary? That would be ironic.

    This past weekend at a race I promoted the officials disqualified someone that crossed the yellow line to attack and place. For me that’s another rule that simply cannot be marginalized. Yes, riders do cross when there’s a peloton squish, but most riders trying to be honest/safe/etc will get back in place where they belong. The cheater or “I deserve special treatment” riders will attack etc over the line.

    In an earlier race I promoted this year the officials DQed a rider that attacked over the yellow. He knew the yellow applied for 3/4 of the course but didn’t realize that it applied in one particular section, a left curving hill that historically was full course. He’s also a fellow promoter, racer, etc, and he understands the need to follow rules. I felt sympathy because he was going by what he thought were the rules, refunded his entry (which he then gave back to me to donate to whatever cycling program so now that entry fee is with a local Junior development organization).

    It was funny, sort of. He says to me, “Dude, I didn’t know the yellow applied on the hill. I wasn’t a foot over the line, I was all the way on the left curb sprinting up the hill. It wasn’t like I was trying to hide it because I didn’t think the yellow line applied there.”

    Ultimately, though, he took responsibility for his move, regardless of the circumstances, and that’s the right thing to do.

  14. Bill V

    “In this case, the intention of the rule is clear, and the decision was based on a desire to make sure the race was decided on the road by the riders, and not on the jury room.”

    The race was decided on the road. Phil’s crash decided Phil’s race. Phil crashed outside of the 8k he describes. That’s how the race played out and instead of applying the rule properly, he gave Phil a charitable 150 meter buffer zone that quite possibly no other pro in that situation might get. Or one might get and another might not depending on how charitable the refs were feeling that day.

    People like to hate on Horner these days. What if he had been in this situation instead of Phil?

    If we can’t technically apply the rules, but rather apply them poetically, we’re going to get valid controversy and decrease the cred of the people officiating the race.


  15. chad

    steve, redlands it was clearified in the managers meeting that the “3k rule” would be extended to 5 laps togo. It was known and pre qualified. They didn’t change anything.

  16. Joe

    Another aspect that needs to be addressed here is did the riders that crashed actually get 5 laps to go? If you crash prior to the start finish line, in my opinion you did not receive the 5 laps to go, and therefor entitled to the free lap. As an official I would apply the rule that you must cross the finish line to receive the 5 laps to go.

    (I am a level B official, promoter, and Cat 2 racer)

  17. Vincent

    This line ruins it for me;
    “If one wants to get technical, then yes, I allowed a 150 meter extension of the 8k rule rather than add 2 minutes to the yellow jersey (and most of GC contenders).”
    Does it sound so generous like this.
    “If one wants to get technical, then yes, I gave a 150 meter extension of the 8k rule rather than allow the riders including some GC contenders that did not crash to gain 2min on the yellow jersey and other GC contenders.”

  18. Jacque Meihauf

    There was no decision for the officials to make at The Redlands criterium. The rule is very clear. Gaimon, according to the rules, is required to chase since the free lap period had ended. End of story #1.

    If he or his teamates were riding in a reverse direction on the course, then they are to be dq’ed. End of story #2.

  19. The Cyclist

    These free lap rules you got in US are really funny… in real life you would be out of he race if you crash and don’t get your ass back to the pack b4 they lap you.

  20. Jacque Meihauf

    Phil, your “getting technical” statement is absolutely ridiculous when you are referring to the rules and the applications thereof. There is no room for interpretation. The rules have to applied to ALL riders equally. If this is not done, then the race is unfair.

    Put yourself in the position of someone who has lost a position, a paying position, and maybe the light over your head will light up. Or not. Everyone wants the race to be decided on the road, but if the rules have been broken; then the race jury is the only solution.

    Otherwise, why would we even need someone like you if you are going to “get technical” as you say and ignore rules?

  21. bill hall

    AS a USAC official (much lower level) I get it and I don’t . However Phil makes two good points. One day Crits. it’s easy, no free lap after 8k, chase. Stage Road events the crit time adjustments get into some math. The adjusted time may be computed as follows FxL / (L-D). In this case time adjustment could have been as much as 2min. But, the Redlands crit course was stated as being 1 mile. Was it ? Many times I’ve worked crits that are under 1k but rounded up for the free lap rule. So was 150 meters really a gift or just already there so riders would have been good. Just a thought. As for the riders going under the gates ? I agree with Calvin.

  22. Bill V

    Right on, Steve. My Horner comparison falls apart!

    I should have done a little more research there.

  23. Thom

    And then there’s this section of the rule for determining times for criteriums within a stage race:

    “(g) Time adjustments in criterium stages shall be computed as follows, except that further adjustments may be made at the discretion of the Chief Referee in unusual circumstances.”

    So, the Chief Referee may use his or her discretion under “unusual circumstances.” I’m guessing that the CR gets to exercise that same discretion in determining just what constitutes “unusual circumstances.”

  24. Randall Legeai

    A couple of things about Redlands. First, just to get it off my chest, Redlands is NOT “the longest continuous running stage race in American bike racing.” Not even close. I remind them of this every few years but I guess the promotional temptation is too great. Second, like the Chief Ref, I would have given them pack time as well. (The lap distance of a crit is never a convenient multiple of 1.0 kilometers, and in the case of the Redlands course, it looks like it was a bit short of the advertised 1 mile.) The purpose of ending free laps near the end of a criterium is presumably to avoid having to put riders into a race at a dangerous point where riders in the pack are fighting for position. I don’t know why else you would end free laps. If you’re going to have free laps at all, it seems reasonable and fair to allow them for as long as feasible. I miss the old days when there were no free laps at all.

  25. Yosemit3

    good topic.
    agree, Phil’s Redmond issue is “sticky”, I would like to see more detail. (remain skeptical)
    The train issue should be black and white, but should never have happened. The race MUST be aware of trains, their schedule, and their actual position. The stakes are too high.

  26. Paul Boudreaux

    “Rules are made for people who aren’t willing to make up their own.”

    Chuck Yeager

  27. InTheKnow

    This is so old news. USA Cycling officials – back in 2007 – let Levi Leipheimer keep the yellow jersey when he crashed at Santa Rosa with nearly 10 km to go.

    “The Levi Rule” lives in infamy in Europe and is another reason people there can’t take US racing seriously.

  28. Jeff Werner

    A close-up (and hi-res) view from a fan’s video of the Paris Roubaix riders and the train crossing: (via inrng).
    Some very clear and identifiable names seen ducking under and around the barriers, and some grey areas where the pack streams through with sheer momentum prior to, and while, the barriers are going down.

  29. Larry T.

    Just curious. Who would have been the GC winner at Redlands had this travesty of justice not happened? As far as riding the reverse way on the course, if this rule was enforced to the letter, every rider at a mountain summit finish would have to stand around and wait for the last rider and broom wagon to cross the finish line before they could head down to the team car, hotel, etc. or risk being DQ’d?
    Regarding the train caper, didn’t one of the guys who waited end up 5th at the end? Doesn’t make it seem like the “cheaters” gained an unfair advantage to me, so what’s the reason so many chamois’ are all bunched up? The guys who crossed while the gates were closed might not have engaged in the safest activity on a Sunday morning, but plenty would argue racing bicycles over horribly paved roads surrounded by cars and motorcycles isn’t the safest of activities either.

  30. TechDirector

    From someone who was there (Redlands) I thought I would make some comments. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the regulations and wanted talk about what applies here. There are actually TWO sections in the regulations that apply:

    1) 3D5d is that “standard” free lap rules that states that a rider must REENTER before the race before the final 8k. (emphasis mine) This rule was created for one day races.

    2) The stage race rules (3H6(c)ii) states: “A rider who suffers a mishap in the last three kilometers of a road race stage or after FREE LAPS HAVE ENDED in a criterium stage shall be given the same finish time as the riders he was with at the time of the mishap” (again, emphasis mine) Here we are in essence extending the 3k rule for crits recognizing that we are not going to allow a rider to reenter a crit inside the final 8k per the previous rule.

    So we run into a situation at Redlands where we cannot put riders back into the race as they will be inside 8k (5 laps at Redlands), however if they had crashed a lap earlier they could have taken a lap and would have been right back in the mix. This is a classic rule conflict. Crash/flat at 7 laps to go and you are fine (take your lap), flat or crash at 5 laps to go and you are fine (get time of your group)). Crash at 6k to go and we have to make a call in the spirit of the regulations by interpreting the above…

    I was involved in the development of the stage race rule and can state unequivocally that it was meant to apply in the situation faced by those who crashed at Redlands. For all intents and purposed free laps had ended when the crash happened as riders would not have been able to reenter the race. So yes, a call had to be made and be made very quickly.

    And just for the record, it was not a USA Cycling official who extended the 3k rule for Levi. It was a Italian UCI Commissaire.

  31. Chris Black

    Sorry Steve but you are wrong about the free lap rule & the 3K rule in stage racing in the US. To put it in its simplest terms, the 3K rule is in effect as soon as the pit closes, which is 8K to go in a criterium. You have to read the Stage Race section of the Rule Book, specifically 3H6(c)(ii); A rider who suffers a mishap in the last three kilometers of a road race stage or after free laps have ended in a criterium stage shall be given the same finish time as the riders he was with at the time of the mishap.

    The train crossing thing is another story. I think all the riders who blew the level crossing should have been disqualified, fined, and suspended.


Comments are closed.