Why has Tyler Farrar lost the Giro’s red points jersey?

Tyler Farrar lost the red jersey and the lead in the Giro d’Italia’s points competition yesterday, when Quick Step’s Jérôme Pineau finished third on the stage at Porto Recanati.

Only three days ago, Farrar had a handsome lead in the competition but he has paid the price for finishing outside the official time limit on Wednesday at L’Aquila.

A group of 41 riders finished 46 minutes down, outside the time cut of 39 minutes, but were given dispensation to stay in the race by the organisers because of the extraordinary circumstances.

However, a new rule introduced by the UCI at the request of the Tour de France organisers means that any riders who finish outside the time limit but are given permission to carry on in the race, will lose 25 points.

The measure is to discourage the sprinters from seeking safety in numbers in the last group and saving a bit of energy by not racing to ensure they are inside the limit.

After stage 10, Farrar had 84 points with Cadel Evans second on 52. But after finishing in a group outside the time limit at L’Aquila on stage 11, Farrar was deducted 25 points and back down to 59. Yesterday Pineau’s third place saw him jump ahead of Farrar.

The American now has a huge fight on his hands. Alexandre Vinokourov and Evans are likely to score well in the mountain stages and there always the possibility of the gruppetto finishing outside the time limit again

Points competition standings after 12 stages
1. Jérome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step 66
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 59
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 59
4. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha 57
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing 52