World Championships

Shocked Eekhoff questions UCI’s consistency after DQ in road race

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Nils Eekhoff of The Netherlands / Disappointment after disqualification for drafting off the national team car following a mid-race crash

Image credit: Getty Images

ByMichael Hincks
27/09/2019 at 21:50 | Updated 28/09/2019 at 08:42

Nils Eekhoff has spoken of the “shock” of his World Championships disqualification after winning the U23 road race – questioning the UCI’s consistency in the process.

The Dutch rider won a thrilling seven-way sprint to claim the rainbow jersey on Friday - or so he thought.

'Illegal drafting' - The incident which led to Nils Eekhoff's disqualification


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That unforgettable feeling – as Eekhoff described on Twitter – only last 15 minutes after he was deemed to have slipstreamed his way back to the peloton after suffering an early crash, in which he suffered a dislocated shoulder.

“WORLD CHAMPION! That feeling… But it only lasted for 15 minutes. I’m proud of my performance and help from everybody around me workings towards this race,” he wrote.

The thrilling seven-way sprint before Eekhoff's DQ


“Although I suffered serious pain from a dislocated shoulder, the crash early in the race never stopped me from fighting for my ultimate goal.

To hear they DQ men, was/is a big shock to me. I understand the rules of cycling, but truly think this decision is inappropriate. What means consistency to the UCI is a question I want to find out.

“But for now’ I will never ever forget these best 15 minutes of my life… I’ll be back!”

Eekhoff was part of a three-man group which remarkably caught up with four riders in the final kilometre of the 173km Doncaster to Harrogate route.

The seven riders then sized each other up ahead of the sprint to the line, but it was Eekhoff who squeezed over the line first, with Samuele Battistella (Italy) second and Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) third.

Eekhoff DQ bumps GB's Pidcock up to bronze on dramatic day


However, GB's Thomas Pidock was then bumped up to bronze, as Battistella was crowned the champion with Eekhoff disqualified after a review of the race footage by the UCI commissaires.

The World Championships website confirmed that Eekhoff "had illegally drafted behind a team car to get back into the bunch after an early crash", while a UCI report stated it was for "sheltering behind or taking advantage of the slipstream of a vehicle".

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