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LottoNL deserves fair-play award at Tirreno

Keen cycling fans were likely flummoxed by an unfamiliar name in the Tirreno-Adriatico TT results on Tuesday. LottoNL – Jumbo’s Tom Leezer placed fifth, 16 seconds behind cycling demigod Fabian Cancellara. At least he did for a little while.

The 30-year-old Dutchman is in his 14th year as a professional, and only counts one victory, at the 2013 Tour de Langkawi. His best individual time trial result came in 2007 with fifth place in stage 6 of the UCI 2.2 Olympia’s Tour — he’s not exactly an ace against the clock.

His Dutch team was quick to point out the timing error and sought to correct it.

Afterward, in a team press statement, sport director Jan Boven said, “I followed Tom during his time trial, and I measured a time that was 20 seconds slower than Maarten Tjallingii’s. Because we want the sport to be as fair as possible, we called the jury to say that the result was incorrect.”

Leezer ended up 103rd in the TT, after the results were corrected.

Mistakes like this are pretty rare in professional cycling, but at the 2007 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, Devon Vigus won the three-mile stage 1 time trial, beating a host of top domestic pros on a standard road bike with aero bars, without even an aero helmet. Eyebrows were raised and the results were changed the next day, putting Vigus in 65th place.

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