Video commissaires to be introduced in 2018 as UCI responds to Sagan Tour de France disqualification

Grand Tours, Monuments, and World Champs to get extra commissaire from 2018

Mark Cavendish crashes on stage four of the 2017 Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Video commissaries will be used in races for the first time in 2018 as the UCI announced reforms in response to the case of Peter Sagan's disqualification from the Tour de France last summer.

Bora-Hansgrohe, Sagan's team, were due to take the UCI to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after Sagan was disqualified from the Tour for what commissaires saw as a dangerous manoeuvre causing Mark Cavendish to crash. However the two parties settled their dispute in December, with the UCI agreeing to let commissaires use video footage in future.

A meeting of the UCI Management Committee at the Cyclocross World Championships in Valkenburg, Netherlands has now rubber-stamped these reforms, with a new "support/TV commissaire" being introduced at the Grand Tours (Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España), Monuments (Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Il Lombardia), and the World Championships.

According to the UCI, the new commissaires will "follow the race live via the different TV images available, thus supporting the members of the Commissaires' Panel who are out on the course".

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The UCI has also announced that changes to the protocol surrounding time gaps which were trialled at the Tour de France and Tour de Suisse in 2017 will be extended to all races in 2018.

Under the new protocol, the time gap between groups must be three seconds on the road in order for a split between the two groups to appear in the results and classifications. This move is intended to reduce the level of danger in bunch sprints, reducing the need for general classification contenders to battle it out with sprinters and their lead-out trains for space at the front of the bunch.

The new rule will be applied on a case-by-case basis depending on the profile of the stage, level of the teams, and the number of riders, meaning that it is unlikely to be used on uphill finishes.

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Speaking about the decisions, UCI president David Lappartient said that he was pleased to see reforms that would improve the safety of riders and the consistency of decision-making.

"Rider safety and consistency between events on our international calendar are two of the UCI's main priorities," Lappartient said after the conclusion of the meeting on Friday.

"These two measures will reinforce both of those aims. The extra commissaire will provide vital support to the other commissaires in carrying out their roles, and the protocol was successfully trialled last year."

Lappartient has also been vocal about his intent to increase the checks for motorised bikes, which the UCI refers to as "technological fraud". A full plan of action in this area will be announced on March 21.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.