That UCI rule on the last three kilometres

Like many I saw Contador struggling in the final straight whilst his team mate Vinokourov powered a small group to the finish line. “What’s Russian for traitor” I wondered. But I was wrong.

It turns out Contador punctured towards the end of the race but he won’t lose any time. Indeed Vinokourov driving to the line will have gained him time, since the time is taken on the group and in riding hard, Vino kept the others at bay.

Here’s the relevant UCI rule:

2.6.027 Finish
In the case of a duly noted fall, puncture or mechanical incident in the last three kilometers of a road race stage, the rider or riders involved shall be credited with the time of the rider or riders in whose company they were riding at the moment of the accident. His or their placing shall be determined by the order in which he or they actually cross the finishing line.

If, as the result of a duly noted fall in the last three kilometers, a rider cannot cross the finishing line, he shall be placed last in the stage and credited with the time of the rider or riders in whose company he was riding at the time of the accident.

Note the onus is on Contador or his team to inform the race jury about the puncture. But this should be a formality.