That UCI rule on sprinting

Here’s the relevant UCI rule on safe sprinting:

2.3.036 Sprints
Riders shall be strictly forbidden to deviate from the lane they selected when launching into the sprint and, in so doing, endangering others.

Also there’s a general rule on conduct:

1.2.079 Conduct of participants in cycling races
All licence holders… …shall refrain from any acts of violence, threats or insults or any other improper behaviour or from putting other persons in danger.

Renshaw seems to have fallen foul of the more general rule. The decision is controversial and it can be argued that Julian Dean was potentially putting Mark Renshaw into danger by trying to force him aside. But this was a subtle move, the repeated series of head-butting was asking for trouble and it’s something that’s going to be on TV news bulletins around the world this evening.

An example?
I’m wondering aloud if Renshaw is being used as an example pour encourager les autres. His ejection from the race sends a powerful signal that the riders can’t resort to violence or even aggressive positioning. What frustrates is the lack of consistency, riders can do something one day and they race on; the next time they’re packing their suitcase.

Certainly the rules need to be clearer, a specific mention forbidding the use of the head, fists etc in the UCI rulebook would help clear things up.

8 thoughts on “That UCI rule on sprinting”

  1. A) Dean had to be penalised too. A fine would have been fine in his case.
    B) I think the penalty is correct this way and yes it is pour encourager les autres. Because securing your captain's victory through unfair actions and then taking a penalty that doesn't hurt would lead to even more chaos and crashes besides the obvious point it is not sportsmanlike.
    C) Although some or even many rules need to be clearer, it is good that some/the rules leave place for interpretation so the jury can find an appropriate penalty. Too detailed written out rules always come along with exploits and back doors and are calling for additions and rewritings without eliminating that problem. Here, too, is the right balance difficult.

  2. It seems pretty clear to me that Garmin, Lampre and (to an extent) Cervelo have been using the tactic of deliberately trying to disrupt the HTC train because they know they can’t win a ‘clean’ sprint.
    My first impression of this incident was 'fair enough'. Dean moved across Renshaw, presumbly to impede him. Renshaw held his line and indicated with his head that Dean shouldn’t be doing that. I think Renshaw's second action – moving to the left – was more serious as it impeded Farrar's sprint. Even then I wasn't 100% convinced he wasn't just moving out of the way of the rest of the field after Cavendish had jumped.
    Does anyone remember what happened to McEwen after he headbutted Baden Cooke in (roughly) 2005? I don't think yesterday's action was any worse.
    Also in Renshaw’s defense, he didn’t take a hand off his handlebar 🙂

  3. My view is you can use your head… but only to push, prod and lean. A head-butt is too much, as it goes from defensive positioning and into violence.

    Maybe you can do it once and you might be fined. But do it three times and you're asking for trouble.

  4. McEwen got relegated to last place. I don't remember if he got a fine too, but that was a penalty that did hurt since he was in competition for the green jersey. Renshaw couldn't care less if he is (roughly) 15th or last. He neither steals points from other green jersey contenders at that place nor does he cares about the time loss he might get.

  5. what about the caisse d'epargne/quickstep scrap they got away with a fine and he was hitting him with a bike wheel?! did they get off lightly because it was off the bike?

  6. Dan, I think it was a case of both. They got off lightly with a fine like that but at the same time it was a "personal" incident after the race that did not risk the safety of others. The race jury are UCI commissaires charged with upholding the race rules first… but they can rule on conduct too.

  7. I find it hard to blame Dean when he was barely encroaching on Renshaw, then right after the head butting Renshaw swung into Farrar's line much much quicker.

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