Twitter users cry foul over Alberto Contador breaking UCI rules by taking his helmet off mid-race, but no-one seems entirely sure what the punishment should be

After Wheelgate, or Portegate, or Aussiegate or whatever someone named Tuesday’s incident, in which Team Sky’s Richie Porte was docked two minutes at the Giro d’Italia for accepting a wheel from Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Clarke, Twitter users have been all over the UCI about applying rules consistently.

But just to make matters worse and send everyone who cares enough into a mini-frenzy, race leader Alberto Contador was spotted riding on Wednesday’s stage 11 with no helmet, as he put on his hat underneath.

Helmets are mandatory, everyone knows that, but there seems to be some confusion over what the exact punishment should be…

Well, actually it’s technically an automatic DQ. But this is still cycling, so it’s unlikely much of the internet will really be going wild.

But it’s still important enough to be written fully in caps lock, even if you’re not sure about the actual rules…

…which is not two minutes. But is it part of Bertie’s grand plan? (Probably not).

Still, if there’s one thing you can rely on with Twitter, it’s that there’s always someone out there ready to pull you up on previous comments.

This whole business has even spawned it’s own hashtag.

With all these possible DQs and sanctions, it could be Cheng Ji’s one and only chance to get on Grand Tour podium.

Meanwhile, a bike race continues to happen.

  • Michael

    Hmm, it’s not always wise to read one line of a huge set of regulations that is really only detailing the penalties, and conclude from that someone should be disqualified, without reading the regulations in their entirety – some of which relating to equipment seem to be only in French on their site.

    I note there are supposed some “entirely in the mountains” situations where helmets are optional but what “entirely in the mountains” means is flexible too – but this is translated by google so may be incorrect.

    I’m sure, at the very least, you’d have to dig through all of the regulations that mention helmets to see whether temporarily removing a helmet to put a cap on would actually fall foul.

  • GAM

    Checkout rule 12.1.40 8.2 0f the UCI regulations. The only punishment for taking your helmet off is elimination – no reasons listed though Contador obviously took it off to put a cap on underneath. The regulation under which Porte was penalised says ‘No non-regulated assistance from another team but nowhere defines such assistance.

  • elan

    There were no complaints when Alberto was riding without his shoulder in one place.I agree with one comment there should be less media involvement trying to tell U.C.I.what rules there should be.Its interesting to see what reaction there was had it not been Sky.

  • jules

    a $500k donation to the UCI wouldn’t have hurt Richie or Sky

  • jules

    a $500k donation to the UCI wouldn’t have hurt Richie or Sky

  • blemcooper

    Hm…the rules about the mandatory helmet suggest to me that you might be OK if you have somebody else take your helmet off your head. They can then hand it back to you to put back on yourself.

    And as written, the rules might cause a rider to be disqualified even they have come to a complete stop to take off the helmet to put on/take off a cap. Or if they’ve crashed and have rocks stuck in the vent holes like Matthias Kessler a few years back and want to remove the helmet to check if it’s OK and remove the rocks before continuing in the race. Fortunately for Kessler, he didn’t bother and left the rocks there. Unfortunately for Kessler, he got popped for a doping violation a few years later.

  • RT

    I wish Twitter would go into terminal meltdown, along with the so-called journalists who have nothing better to do that reproduce the rubbish people write on it. I tend to find lavatory doors in pubs and restaurants are a more useful and interesting source of information. The standard of English found on them is generally better too.

  • blemcooper

    And after the third rainy stage (the first two offenses being monetary fines), let’s disqualify all the riders wearing non-transparent rain jackets/capes so that their ID #’s are hidden