Race juries disqualify two riders for banned riding positions

Riders DQ'd at Brabantse Pijl and Tour of Turkey after commissaires spotted them breaking controversial safety rules.

Race juries disqualified two riders Wednesday in what are the first cases in the elite men’s peloton to see racers sent home as part of the UCI’s recent ban on so-called “illegal” riding positions.

Jumbo-Visma’s Gijs Leemreize was sent packing from Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday after being caught riding with an “illicit posture.”

Alpecin-Fenix confirmed to VeloNews that Alexander Richardson was kicked out of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Wednesday for racing with his arms resting on his handlebars.

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Richardson finished stage 4 in Turkey, won by Mark Cavendish, but an eagle-eyed UCI official spotted television coverage of the British rider breaking the rules, and he was kicked out of the race after the stage concluded.

The expulsions — believed to be the first since new rules were adopted at the beginning of April — come as the UCI is cracking down on a wave of safety issues and infractions across the peloton.

Jumbo-Visma confirmed Leemreize’s disqualification on social media, though did not say which of the illegal positions he adopted. Leemreize’s teammate Wout van Aert finished second in Brabantse Pijl after being outsprinted by Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers).

Among the popular riding positions that were placed on the UCI banned list include the so-called “super-tuck”, where the rider squats on the top tube to gain an aero advantage. Draping hands over the brake hoods or resting arms on the handlebars, akin to the time trial position, can also see disqualification.

The ban on select riding positions is part of a wave of controversial “April 1 rules” that saw Michael Schär and Letizia Borghesi expelled from the men’s and women’s Tour of Flanders for tossing bottles.

Leemreize is in his first season with the Jumbo-Visma squad after previously riding for their development team. De Brabantse Pijl was his second race at the top level.

Richardson, 30, is in his second season with Alpecin-Fenix following several years on the British Continental scene.

Also Wednesday, the UCI eased rules on its equally controversial water bottle-tossing rules.