Giro Officials Blow It
The Grand Tours are supposed to highlight the best our sport has to offer. The best riders, courses, best racing, and the best officials. In the 2015 Giro that last point is clearly missing. In the case of Richie Porte yes he did break a rule by taking a wheel from another team. The spirit of that rule is to keep teams from colluding to affect to race outcome. In this case yes it did change the outcome in that it kept a rider who has a shot at winning from losing an insurmountable amount of time for having bad luck. Had the results stood he still would have lost 47 seconds to Contador. No thanks to a short sighted and in my opinion wrong decision he is over 3 minutes down. From a quote on cyclingnews.com:
“Obviously as the director of the Giro d’Italia, I have to say that I’m sorry about this because it’s a further burden for a rider who hoped to do something important at this Giro, but this doesn’t mean that he can’t still do that,” Vegni said. “But clearly there was little to be done, rules are rules, and I think rules have to be respected for the credibility of this sport and, in this case, the credibility of the Giro d’Italia.”
The whole reason to even have officials at a race is so they can exercise their judgement and discretion. If every rule is gonna be treated as a black and white issue then there is no need for officials at all. Just look at the rule book. The sport would self police and it would remove an expense for race promoters. This was an asinine decision that has basically ruined this race from a spectator (and sponsor) point of view. A huge battle shaping up between Porte, Aru, and Contador is now over before it even started. This could have been a huge PR win for cycling in general, a tremendous show of sportsmanship, but instead it is yet another black eye.