Jury did not see video of Nils Eekhoff drafting behind car until after race had finished, according to UCI

The race officials were alerted to the offence by the video referee after Eekhoff crossed the line first

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The race jury did not see footage of Nils Eekhoff drafting behind his team car until after he had crossed the line first, according to the UCI.

Eekhoff was stripped of his under-23 World Championship victory shortly after the race had finished, as the jury ruled he had illegally drafted behind a team car after a crash earlier in the race.

The decision caused uproar because as it was announced long after the Dutch rider had actually been filmed drafting, but a spokesperson for the cycling’s governing body said that officials were alerted to the footage by the video referee after the finish.

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UCI spokesperson Louis Chenaille told gathered journalists: “The review has been done inside the [commissaires] bus with all the jury present.

“When there's a winner or podium rider, [the video referee] reviews a lot of sections of the race to confirm the validity of the victory, to make sure nothing happened.

“He reviewed it after the race and he shared it with the jury, and then they took the decision.”

Eekhoff, 21, who rides for Sunweb, drafted behind his team car for more than 30 seconds, according to Chenaille.

After the jury announced its decision, he left the Harrogate finishing circuit in floods of tears.

Chenaille added that the decision was based on footage that was not live on television, which was not spotted during the race, and he added there is no intention to release the video.

The official communiqué from the race jury, released after the race, confirms that Eekhoff and two other riders were disqualified for “sheltering behind or taking advantage of the slipstream of a vehicle (for some time)."

Italy’s Alexander Konychev and Andreas Nielsen (Denmark) were disqualified alongside Eekhoff, while the Dutch, Italian and Danish teams were fined 200 Swiss francs (£164) each.

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Samuele Battistella of Italy, who had finished second in the seven-up sprint that decided the race, was promoted to gold medal winner, Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) took silver and Britain’s Tom Pidcock was bumped up to third.

Pidcock, who had been devastated by his fourth place finish, said after the race that it wasn’t how he wanted to take a bronze medal.

The Dutch cycling federation has not yet released a public statement on the decision to disqualify their rider.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former 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, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex 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 the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.