Editor’s Note: Think back to the first week of this year’s Tour de France, and what you may remember most is that world champion Peter Sagan got kicked out of the Tour after the final sprint crash that ended Mark Cavendish‘s Tour. Sagan was adjudged to have caused the crash, and was expelled by the race jury. Almost immediately afterward, various “Zapruder” videos surfaced that cast considerable doubt on the jury’s verdict. (See our article, Did Sagan Deserve the Boot for Downing Cav?, which included quite varied reader comments.)
Sagan and his BORA – hansgrohe team immediately appealed, to no avail, in an attempt for him to stay in the Tour, and then continued the case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the Tour. The following press release, issued Tuesday, from BORA – hansgrohe reveals that Sagan was completely exonerated in advance of the scheduled hearing on the matter. All parties agreed that “the crash was an unfortunate and unintentional race incident and that the UCI Commissaires made their decision based on their best judgment in the circumstances.”
However, it was also announced that the UCI will now field a “support judge” with specific expertise in video analysis, to assist race juries in major races to prevent a repeat of what transpired in this year’s Tour.
The text of the BORA – hansgrohe release follows:
In advance of the hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne scheduled for December 5, 2017 the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), Peter Sagan and BORA – hansgrohe have agreed to end the legal dispute and controversy about Peter Sagan’s disqualification from this year’s Tour de France.
Peter Sagan was disqualified following a crash in the sprint at the end of the 4th stage in Vittel.
Immediately following the disqualification Peter Sagan and BORA – hansgrohe had appealed the decision of the race jury with the CAS and, in order to enable Peter Sagan to finish the Tour, requested a temporary suspension of the disqualification. As is well known, this request was denied by CAS; subsequently, however, all parties involved had the opportunity to provide evidence and call witnesses. On 5 December 2017, CAS was scheduled to hear the matter in Lausanne.
Having considered the materials submitted in the CAS proceedings, including video footage that was not available at the time when the race jury had disqualified Peter Sagan, the parties agreed that the crash was an unfortunate and unintentional race incident and that the UCI Commissaires made their decision based on their best judgment in the circumstances. On this basis, the parties agreed not to continue with the legal proceedings and to focus on the positive steps that can be taken in the future instead.
The new president of the UCI, David Lappartient, commented on the UCI’s position as follows: “These proceedings have shown how important and arduous the work of the UCI Commissaires is. As of next season the UCI intends to engage a ‘Support Commissaire’ to assist the Commissaires Panel with special video expertise on the main events of the UCI World Tour.”
The UCI world champion Peter Sagan is pleased with this development: “The past is already forgotten. It’s all about improving our sport in the future. I welcome the fact that what happened to me in Vittel has showed that the UCI Commissaires’ work is a difficult one and that the UCI has recognised the need to facilitate their work in a more effective way. I am happy that my case will lead to positive developments, because it is important for our sport to make fair and comprehensible decisions, even if emotions are sometimes heated up.”
Ralph Denk, team manager of BORA – hansgrohe adds: “It has always been our goal to make clear that Peter had not caused Mark Cavendish’s fall. This was Peter’s position from day one. No one wants riders to fall or get hurt but the incident in Vittel was a race accident as can happen in the course of a sprint. My job as a team manager is to protect my riders and sponsors. I think that this is what we, as a team, have done. I am reinforced in my view that neither Peter nor BORA – hansgrohe have made any mistakes.”
Don’t Miss the 26 Reader Comments About e-Bikes
I think it’s safe to say that e-bikes have gone from a novelty not too awfully long ago to something many of us are either already utilizing or at least thinking about playing a role in our riding future.
Don’t miss the great comments to last week’s article What We Think About e-Bikes. Just click the link and scroll to the bottom to read them all.—J.M.