Riders who throw away bidons could be slapped with a fine of up to 1000 Swiss francs (£757), under new rules in place at Belgium’s ‘opening weekend’.
The new penal scales published by the International Cycling Union (UCI) dictate a fine anywhere from 200 to 500 Swiss francs (£151 to £278) for throwing a drinks bottle, and up to 1000 francs if the throw is deemed to be dangerous.
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Riders taking on the races of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne will be reminded of the new fines, according to the UCI Jury Commissioner for the races.
Speaking to Belgium newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Philippe Marien, said: “Dropping a water bottle into the canal or leaving trash on the road is no longer acceptable in this day and age.”
“We have to get rid of those riders who leave their garbage everywhere. We have to get rid of those who, just after they ride next to the team car, immediately throw their bottle in the air.
“WorldTour pro riders act as an example. With higher fines, we want to build a better image, in a responsible and ecological direction. Waste zones are provided: shortly before the feed zone and just after. In addition, waste can be dumped in a planned waste zone some twenty years from the finish.”
He added that handing a bottle to a spectator was acceptable, but that throwing a half-full, or empty, bottle into the crowd when “full of adrenaline, [could be] life-threatening.”
The paper reported that Belgium pro Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) had commented on the way bottles and rubbish are disposed of by the peloton.
“I – and a bunch of my colleagues – put wrappers and gels in my back pocket until I reach the waste zone. In Oman, for example, you do not throw away an empty bottle, simply because there is hardly anyone there and so it won’t be picked up, so is the equivalent of garbage – so if it’s necessary, you should return your bottle to the following car.
“On the other hand, a child likes to have an empty bottle as a souvenir – and it also belongs somewhere in the charm.”