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.