Romain Bardet has been thrown out of Paris-Nice after race commissaires rule that the Frenchman took an illegal car tow when returning to the peloton after a crash.
The AG2R La Mondiale crashed late on in the opening stage of the Race to the Sun, but as he successfully returned to the chasing group he was part of, he was aided in his efforts by being protected from the wind by his team’s car, thus enabling him to fall into the vehicle’s slipstream.
Afterwards, the race jury ruled that the 26-year-old was to be disqualified.
The Frenchman had a frustrating day in the saddle. When FDJ – who won the race through Arnaud Dèmare – split the race after 40km and causing echelons, Bardet found himself in the fourth group on the road.
He was able to join the group containing most of the GC riders, but suffered another crash with Michael Schar (BMC Racing), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Trek-Segafredo duo John Degenkolb and Jarlinson Pantano as the race reached its climax.
Sporting cuts to his knee, it was when he was chasing back to the second group on the road once more that Bardet took too many illegal tows, of which was captured by the TV helicopters.
Bardet is scheduled to be next in action at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, starting on April 3.