The first bike change did not go well… pic.twitter.com/vx9Xt1XFEl
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) September 20, 2017
Some teams and riders had elected to change from time trial bikes to lighter road bikes prior to the final steep climb of Mount Floyen in roder to save time.
Alexey Lutsenko of Kazakhstan suffered a time loss when changing bikes, fumbling to get his feet back in the pedals and requiring a late push from a team helper outside the designated ‘push-off zone’, marked by a red carpet on the cobbles.
A UCI commissaire was on hand to check that anyone receiving a push after changing bikes kept within the regulated 20-metre stretch – yet Lutsenko appeared to be pushed beyond the point.
Other riders fared little better, losing momentum and making many question whether a bike change would be worth the effort.
And some riders decided not to change bikes, but used the red carpet as a smooth route over the cobbles – although this appeared to be stopped by the commissaire after the first few riders tried it.
Britain’s Adam Blythe noted that some riders could have learned from cyclocross world champion Wout van Aert on how to smoothly change bikes during an event.
Once the riders had navigated the bike changeover zone, they then tackled the 3km Mount Foyen, which posed its own challenges in terms of the nine per cent average gradient and the huge crowds lining the road.