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Dutchman Nils Eekhoff lashed out at the UCI race jury for their decision to disqualify him from Friday’s Under-23 road world championships, calling the decision “inappropriate.”
“To hear they DQ me, was/is a big shock to me,” Eekhoff wrote in a post on social media. “I understand the rules of cycling, but truly think this decision is inappropriate.”
Eekhoff initially won the men’s under-23 race after outsprinting his six breakaway companions in downtown Yorkshire.
His victory came after a long and punishing race, that saw Eekhoff attack out of the diminished peloton alongside Colombian Sergio Higuita, and then chase back on to a group of four riders up the road.
Eeckhout then won the sprint, taking what he thought would be the biggest win of his career.
More than 20 minutes after the finish, word trickled out that the UCI was reviewing the race. A short time later, the UCI race jury announced it had disqualified Eekhoff for allegedly drafting off of team cars in an attempt to catch back onto the peloton.
The incident in question occurred with 130 kilometers remaining in the race. Eekhoff allegedly crashed and suffered a shoulder injury.
According to a report in cyclingnews.com, Eekhoff then chased for two minutes behind the Dutch team car before he was able to rejoin the bunch.
“Although I suffered serious pain from a dislocated shoulder, the crash early in the race never stopped me from fighting for my ultimate goal,” Eekhoff wrote.
Images of Eeckhout in tears quickly circulated on the internet, and pro cyclists from The Netherlands and elsewhere chimed in on social media to show their support for the 21-year-old, who races for Team Sunweb.
“What means consistency to the UCI is a question I want to find out,” Eekhoff wrote. “But for now; I will never ever forget these best 15 minutes of my life… I’ll be back!”