Caleb Ewan slams commissaires after Tour de France fine: 'They have no idea what’s going on'

Alpecin-Fenix's sports director Christophe Roodhooft was fined for pacing the Australian

Caleb Ewan
(Image credit: Getty)

Caleb Ewan has criticised the Tour de France's commissaires after he was fined following an alleged illegal move on stage 13 of the race.

The Lotto-Soudal rider crashed with 71km of the stage remaining, and he remained by the side of the road for a few minutes while doctors checked him and cleared him of concussion. He hurt his knee and shoulder in the incident but was able to complete the stage.

As he tried to get back to the day's peloton in the hope of a bunch sprint, Ewan benefited from sitting behind the Alpecin-Fenix car for a period of time, the Belgian team also wanting a sprint finish for their own fast man Jasper Philipsen.

The UCI's commissaires, however, objected to Ewan drafting, and fined him 200CHF, as well as docking him points in the points and mountain classification. Christoph Roodhooft, sports director at Alpecin, was fined for 500CHF, even though the driver of the car was Michel Cornelisse. 

Ewan admitted at the start of stage 14 that he wasn't aware that he had been fined, but was highly critical of the commissaires.

"I don’t know exactly what the rules are," he said. "I think the thing is, the UCI are always talking about our safety, and if they want us to sit on the side of the road and actually get checked… yesterday I had a smashed helmet, so the obvious thing for me to do was to sit there and get checked by the doctors before I got back on my bike and kept going.

"To stay in the race, you need some assistance, [as] you’re already a couple of minutes out of the back. It wasn’t even like I was tagged onto the bunch, I was tagged onto a dropped bunch. 

"I think it’s a bit disappointing with them because if they want us to just jump straight back on with concussion or something, and try to get as back to the bunch as quick as possible, that’s probably the worst thing you can do. 

"I was a bit disappointed with the commissaries but most of the time they have no idea what’s going on, anyway."

In the end, a bunch sprint never eventuated, with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) winning a three-man sprint from the break, meaning that the race still hasn't witnessed a bunch sprint since its return to France after the Grand Départ in Denmark.

"I think everybody in the convoy knows that I wasn't dropped because I was out of the back - I just crashed," Ewan continued.

"It was a rival team’s car and Alpecin knew that if I got back to the bunch, then maybe I would have beaten [Jasper] Philipsen.

"But they still helped me anyway because they knew that the position I was in was a disadvantage anyway, so it was nice of them to do that. Shame on the commissaires for doing that."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.