A UCI jury member tells CW that the governing body has to be flexible in applying the rule to each individual case

Should Tyler Farrar have been disqualified for accepting outside help at the Tour Down Under? Not according to an active UCI jury member, who says that the governing body must be flexible and act according to the circumstances

The Dimension Data rider borrowed a bike from a fan to finish the third stage of the Tour Down Under on Thursday a move that is technically against the UCI rules. A similar rule infringement saw Richie Porte, then racing for Sky, docked two minutes in the overall standings of the 2015 Giro d’Italia.

>>> “Nah, a wheel is not going to cut it” – spectator describes giving Tyler Farrar his $6,000 bike

“This is different than the Giro with Porte and [Simon] Clarke, riders from different teams who had their team-mates there to support them,” a UCI jury member told Cycling Weekly.

The member, who works at top races throughout the season but was not in Australia, preferred to remain unnamed.

Watch: Tour Down Under stage three highlights

“Every incident has its own circumstances that the jury must consider. Some jury members rule one way or another, but you have to be there to see it and decide.”

In this case, Farrar was not competing for the overall or the stage, and risked not finishing the race and continuing. He placed third last, 135th, at 13-07 minutes back behind winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-Greenedge).

“Without his help, I would’ve travelled all the way to Australia for only two and a half days of racing,” Farrar told Het Nieuwsblad.

The jury usually consists of four members of different nationalities appointed by the governing body.

It said today that it made an exception “because a bad crash with several other riders involved created a hectic situation which meant neither his team car nor the event’s neutral service vehicle was in a position to provide assistance.

“In normal circumstances accepting outside assistance such as Farrar did today would result in his disqualification from the race.”

It could have applied rule 12.1.040 / 20.2, non-regulation breakdown or medial assistance, which could have resulted in elimination.

“We have to follow the rules that are written and sometimes we can make adjustments,” said the unnamed official.

“You have to do it on the fly and at times after sitting down in a meeting with the other jury members.”

Stefano Allocchio, the Giro d’Italia’s course director, said that sometimes cycling enters a grey area and that is why the jury is in place to rule.

“The rules say that you can’t take a bike from a fan,” Allocchio told Cycling Weekly.

“In these cases, the organiser can’t do anything, it’s the jury who decides. Maybe the jury just decided everything was OK, this and that happened, and we won’t apply the rule.”

Speaking at the time of the Porte decision, UCI President Brian Cookson said, “There are times when things matter and times when [they] don’t really matter, and that’s part of the jury’s job.

“When a rider in the top-three overall has an incident like that in the last few kilometres of the race – that can’t be ignored.”

  • Yes, and he should have to ride his own bike all the way back home. The only fitting punishment. Ha ha. Just kidding.

  • Choddo


  • Bill Smith

    If cycling is to be believed to be for the cycling public then there is only one answer to this question, that the public must feel they are integrated with the pros in providing help for their heroes in time of need, regardless of the position of the rider at that time. let us feel of use to the pros in their time of need no matter what, it is not cheating but giving the rider help from their fans in time of need to keep their heroes in the race with a chance.

  • ummm…

    im in!

  • J1

    24hr Le Mans Cycle!?

  • dourscot

    Did he gain an advantage on that stage?

    Other than finishing within the time limit, no.

  • DaveS

    Don’t bikes have to go thru scrutineers to be eligible?

  • ummm…

    id agree with you, but at the same time the team did “abandon” their rider. shouldnt that be factored in? What happens if EVERYONE did this; If there were plants along the road to switch out bikes, parts etc.? I say we go back to races where they go 24/7 and cyclists have to make their own fixes. that would be a huge shake up, and im only saying in tongue in cheek, but wouldn’t that be such an amazing spectacle. which rider was the fastest, the most endurance, slept the least, was the best mechanic, which equipment supplier make the most durable stuff? e

  • Gary McCallum

    The UCI absolutely made the right call. Farrar was not winning or contending, bike damaged through no fault of his, team car no where around — disqualifying him would benefit no one, not disqualifying him hurt no one. Rules need to be applied with common sense but so rarely are. Here, they were.