Sympathy was had to come by for Katusha rider Alexey Tsatevich after he was sent home by his team for excessive drafting in the Giro d'Italia stage nine time trial
Tsatevich received a 100 Swiss Franc (£71) fine and 6-48 penalty after the stage for pacing behind Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin) for a reported 20km in the 40.5km Chianti time trial.
“It was way too much,” Addy Engels, LottoNL-Jumbo sports director told Cycling Weekly. “I’m not upset that he’s home. It’s not the way we want to show the sport. We want to do it the fair way, and this is not part of fair play.”
Ludvigsson placed 23rd with a time of 54-09, the 26-year-old Tsatevich placed last in 186th at 1- 2-55 after his penalty. Without it, he would have placed around 68th at 56-04.
“Speaking as an ex-cyclist, it bothers me when there’s another rider on my wheel in a time trial,” BMC Racing‘s team trainer, Marco Pinotti said.
“The riders know what they are doing. When you are passed, you gain some slipstream, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid it, but to then stay there. I don’t think he was even there to try to win or make a good placing, maybe he was just trying to save strength.”
Watch: Pro bike – Alejandro Valverde’s Canyon Speedmax TT bike
Astana trainer and sports director, Paolo Slongo added, “A rider who’s out there doing a time trial not for the win or for the classification, he should be calm because even if he arrives one minute later it doesn’t change anything.”
Katusha did not have a team car behind Tsatevich, but saw what happened on television. The Russian WorldTour team explained that their rider followed Ludvigsson for 20km.
“I don’t want to swear… I don’t want to say what I’m thinking,” said Dmitry Konyshev. “I was very upset to see this in TV. It was shameful. I became red with shame and wanted to bust the TV. It’s impossible to do that.
“First that’s disrespectful to the rider ahead. Ludvigsson started the time trial to do well, if it was dry he could’ve finished in the first five.
“Tsatevich was there, hooked on this wheel, not letting go. The jury wasn’t able to communicate to him in the race, but a rider with some sense should know better.”
The decision could hurt Ilnur Zakarin, who is racing the Giro d’Italia for the overall win. Now his Katusha support is down from eight to seven men. Tsatevich would have helped pace on the flats and sprinted for stage wins in the flat stages. Konyshev added, “He’s a sprinter for seventh place.”