Can riders finish a race without their bike?

After Eamon Lucas finished a race in Belgium on foot, it appears they can

Eamon Lucas running for the finish line at Gullegem Kermesse

After Chris Froome popularised running in the middle of a bike race in the 2016 Tour de France, it's become all the rage.

Most recently, US racer Eamon Lucas took to his feet and ran across the finish line of a race in Belgium.

Lucas has crashed in the finishing straight of the Gullegem Kermesse near Kuurne on Saturday (June 8), but dashed to the line to hold on to a top-10 finish.

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The race organisers allowed Lucas’s result to stand, which begs the question ‘does a rider need to finish with their bike?’

UCI rules do stipulate that “the rider may cross the finish line on foot, provided that [he] has his bicycle with him.”

That means that a rider who crashes in the final few hundred metres of a race can walk across the finish line and still have their result count, as long as they carry or push their bike with them.

Team Ineos rider Egan Bernal has benefitted from this rule, after he crashed in the final kilometre during stage five of the Volta a Catalunya, and was forced to carry his bike across the line.

Fortunately, the crash happened in the final 3km so his time was neutralised for the stage - a key rule in stage racing.

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Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) was also forced to push his bike across the line at the UAE Tour, after a mechanical during stage four to Hatta Dam.

The Norweigan was involved in a crash earlier in the stage, which then caused his seatstay to snap clean in half on the final climb. He pushed his bike up the climb to cross the line.

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Lucas's bike was nowhere in sight when he switched disciplines to the 200 metre sprint, but the organisers didn't penalise the rider.

The Gullegem Kermesse is a UCI 1.12b non-professional race which means this rule should have applied, however the race jury opted to overrule the governing body regulation.

This is not the first time in recent weeks that a race jury have gone against UCI rules – in the Giro d’Italia, Miguel Ángel López was not penalised for hitting a fan despite the rules clearly stating he should have been punished.

This decision is being reviewed by the UCI and López could still face sanction.  

At the Tour of California, Tejay van Garderen was allowed to hold onto the race lead, despite losing time on stage four.

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EF Education rider Van Garderen was hit by a mechanical inside the final 10km and was forced to chase down the peloton but did not make it back into the bunch.

The peloton were then affected by a crash just outside the 3km mark, causing more time splits.

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Then an hour after after stage finish, race officials announced that all riders affected by the collision and Van Garderen would be given the same time as the front finishers.

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.