Cannondale-Drapac general manager Jonathan Vaughters has cried foul after Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) escaped punishment for taking a drink from a spectator late on stage 12 of the Tour de France, while Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) and George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) were docked 20 seconds for the same offence.
While Uran was punished for taking a bottle from a Cannondale employee at the top of the Col de Peyresourde with five kilometres remaining, Bennett was punished for an infringement with 6.4km to go.
However video footage of Bennett taking the drink from the spectator also appears to show eventual stage winner Bardet taking a bottle of water from a fan, taking a swig, then throwing it away.
Writing on Twitter, Vaughters said that he though Bardet should receive the same penalty as Uran and Bennett, but that UCI officials had not been responding to his calls.
According to the commissaires, the riders were punished under article 12.1.040/23.2 of the UCI rules, which says that are not allowed to take food and drink within the first 50km or the last 20km of races.
The Tour de France race jury has already been at the centre of controversy in this year’s race, kicking world champion Peter Sagan out of the race after a crash with Mark Cavendish on stage four, and Quick-Step Floors complaining after Nacer Bouhanni was fined 200 Swiss Francs for apparently punching Jack Bauer on stage 10.
UPDATE, 14/7/17: The UCI Commissaires Panel has decided to rescind the penalties imposed on Uran and Bennett, saying that riders were unable to take food and drink from team cars earlier in the stage.
The race continues on Friday with a 101km from Saint-Girons to Foix, where Chris Froome (Team Sky) will try and take back the yellow jersey from Fabio Aru (Astana).