Warren Barguil says he accepts the decision to disqualify him from Paris-Nice after he drafted behind his team car following a crash during stage one.
The Frenchman says the period of drafting took place straight after the crash when his team were deciding whether he was able to continue the race and that he wasn’t trying to break the rules.
“I will never be put down! I accept the decision of the commissaires to disqualify me from Paris-Nice, even if it undermines all my preparation for the start of the season. I didn’t want to do wrong, nor did my sports director. I was just groggy after my fall and taking shelter behind the car was just a floating time between giving up or continuing the race,” Barguil said.
Arkéa-Samsic’s general manager Emmanuel Hubert agreed with the sentiment, saying: “The rules and laws are there to be applied, although sometimes decisions can be made in the spirit of the sport. Warren found himself in this contentious situation due to the fact that he was groggy after his fall and did not yet know what decision to make: continue or abandon Paris-Nice.
“He thus continued for a few kilometres and was sheltered by his sports director without meaning to go against the rules or cheat. The only goal was to help him recover his spirits and put him back, if possible, in the race.”
As well as his disqualification Barguil was fined 200 Swiss Francs (£160) for his actions. His sports director, Yves Caer, was fined 500 CHF for the drafting and an additional 500 CHF for not respecting the instructions of the race commissaires. Arkéa-Samsic will also have the last place in the team car convoy for stage two as the French squad look to aid Nairo Quintana’s hopes for overall victory.