Michael Schär has become one of, if not the first, rider to be disqualified from a WorldTour race for littering, as the new UCI rules come into force.
Having ridden the first 150km of the Tour of Flanders Schär suffered a mechanical, then chucking a bidon to roadside fans as he chased back up to the peloton in time for the racing to get going properly, then throwing his hands in the air in exasperation as he realised he'd fallen foul of the new protocols.
Not long after, a commissaires motorbike drove up alongside the Ag2r Citroën rider to tell him he'd been disqualified for his actions.
New UCI rules to improve rider safety and the impact of racing on the environment, which came into effect on April 1, state that rubbish and bidons must be disposed of only within litter zones assembled every 30-40km in all UCI races. Outside of these areas, riders are only permitted to dispose of rubbish by passing it to a team or neutral service car.
"Throwing objects or waste in a careless or dangerous manner or onto the road or at spectators will result in a 200 to 1000 CHF fine as well as disqualification from one-day races," the new rules state.
Rally Cycling's Kyle Murphy looks to have won the honour of becoming the first rider in all races to be disqualified for littering at the GP Miguel Indurain, with team-mate Keegan Swirbul explaining: "He accidentally dropped a gel from his pocket while he was towards the back of the bunch. Commissaires saw it, RIP."
While Schär was disqualified for littering, two riders were DQed for a fracas inside the opening kilometres of racing.
Astana’s Yevgeniy Fedorov and Alpecin-Fenix’s Otto Vergaerde were chucked off the race after Fedorov brake checked Vergaerde and Vergaerde reacted by slamming himself into Fedorov.
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