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UCI jury disqualifies USA’s Luke Lamperti from U23 race

USA Cycling sees its top-10 stripped away after UCI jury disqualifies rider.

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LEUVEN, Belgium (VN) — Luke Lamperti saw his hard-earned top-10 in Friday’s U23 men’s road race disqualified by the UCI jury.

UCI commissaires ruled that Lamperti, who sprinted to 10th in the rough-and-tumble U23 race Friday, caused another rider, identified as a Belgian rider, to crash on one of the cobbled sectors of the course.

It’s unclear where and when the incident happened, but UCI officials reviewed video footage after the race, and decided to disqualify the Trinity Racing rider from the race.

“We’re disappointed in the commissaires’ decision to disqualify Luke from his placing,” said USA Cycling’s chief of performance Jim Miller. “He rode a solid race, and, unfortunately, the panel decided to rule what looked like a bad line choice through a cobbled section.”

Also read: Crashes, cobbles, and ‘mega worlds’

The incident took the shine off what was otherwise a solid ride by the U23 team.

Lamperti negotiated a nervous and crash-riddled race to finish with the front group, kicking to ninth in the bunch sprint behind winner Filippo Baroncini (Italy).

It was not quite clear at exactly where the incident took place that would eventually see Lamperti erased from the result’s sheet.

“I had to avoid a lot of crashes,” Lamperti told VeloNews at the line, unaware of the looming decision. “It was definitely not a safe race.”

Also read: Baroncini wins crash-riddled U23 race

USA Cycling teammate Kevin Vermaerke rode into the main late-race move, taking pressure off Lamperti, who was marking wheels in the main bunch.

“We lost Sean Quinn and Magnus [Sheffield] to crashes, but the rest of us were able to make it through safely,” Lamperti said. “The ideal plan was to have me and Kevin on the circuit together, to see what we could do.

“Kevin was up the road in a super good move, so that set us up perfectly but the Dutch guys weren’t happy with that so they brought it back,” he said. “That set me up good for the sprint but I didn’t quite have the legs that I would have wished in the sprint. It was just a hard sprint.”

Disqualifying a rider for a crash in the middle of a race is relatively rare. More often, riders are DQ’d for transgressions near or at the end of a race in the chaos of a bunch sprint.

Despite the many crashes marring the U23 race, Lamperti was the only rider disqualified by the race jury.

Lamperti was not immediately available for comment Friday evening, but Miller was quick to defend the promising rider, who hit two top-10’s in stages at the recent Tour of Britain.

“Luke has a bright future in the sport, and this one decision in no way means he’s a poor bike rider,” Miller said. “We’re excited to watch what he does in the coming years.”