Dutchman spotted sitting in behind team car with 70km remaining on stage three
Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) may have won the opening stage and finish second on stage two of the Dubai Tour, but he is now out of the leader’s jersey after stage three after being given a 20-second time penalty by the race jury.
Groenewegen led the race by two seconds over Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) at the start of the day and would have hoped to have held onto the blue jersey ahead of the uphill finish on stage four.
However a mechanical problem with 70km to go saw the Dutchman distanced from the peloton just as Trek-Segafredo raised the pace at the front.
Despite having an hour and a half of racing to use to chase back on, Groenewegen instead sat in behind his LottoNL-Jumbo team car alongside team-mate Bert-Jan Lindeman, before the car accelerated to help them back up to the peloton, an act that was spotted by TV cameras and race commissaires on the ground.
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According to UCI regulations, riders who briefly shelter behind a team car can be punished with a 30CHF while riders who draft vehicles “for some time” should be given a 50CHF fine and a 20-second penalty, with the driver of the vehicle also being given a 200CHF fine. On this occasion it appears that the commissaires decided that Groenewegen’s actions were worthy of the more serious punishment.
The 20-second penalty means that Groenewgen now drops out of the top 10 overall, with Elia Viviani moving into the blue leader’s jersey, just four seconds ahead of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) who took victory on stage three.
However Groenewegen’s 10th place on the stage was not affected by the race jury’s decision, allowing him to pick up the single point which means that he stays ahead of Viviani in the points classification.
The Dubai Tour continues on Friday with an uphill finish to Hatta Dam on stage four.