Nils Eekhoff to challenge Yorkshire Worlds disqualification at CAS tribunal

After a lengthy deliberation, Eekhoff was disqualified from the U23 men's road race and the victory given to Samuele Batistella

Nils Eekhoff (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nils Eekhoff is set to take his disqualification from the U23 men's road race at the Yorkshire World Championships to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), according to Dutch broadcaster NOS.

The Dutchman had crossed the line first in Harrogate, but after a lengthy deliberation by the race jury he was found guilty of drafting behind his team car as he chased back up to the peloton following a crash. The victory was then handed to Italy's Samuele Batistella instead.

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Eekhoff will be supported in his challenge of the decision by the Dutch Cycling Union, who are said to be mostly concerned with the rules not being applied consistently throughout the season.

"The application of that rule must be different," Dutch national coach Thorwald Veneberg said. "Nils must also be clear why that decision was made at that time, because we do not have it at the moment.

"In this way, perhaps something can still come out of this situation. At least have a good look at those regulations and their application. And then we will see what the result will be."

The day after the race, the UCI released a two-minute video of the incident and clarified the situation, saying: "The rider was disqualified for sheltering behind a vehicle for over two minutes. The maximum sanction provided by the article was considered appropriate to the time spent sheltering.

"The decision was taken by the commissaires’ panel after the race based on images from a moto camera available to the UCI video commissaire. Race officials have reviewed the images, followed due process by hearing the rider and team before making the decision."

Regardless of the outcome, Eekhoff has said he will "never ever forget those best 15 minutes" when he was world champion, saying at the time of the DQ: "Although I suffered serious pain from a dislocated shoulder, the crash early in the race never stopped me from fighting for my ultimate goal. To hear they [the UCI] have DQed me, was and is a big shock.

"I understand the rules of cycling, but truly think this decision is inappropriate. What consistency means to the UCI is a question I want to find out. But for now, I will never ever forget those best 15 minutes of my life…I’ll be back!"

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