E3 Saxo: Wout Wins One—And the UCI Considered Disqualifying Him

cycling e3 saxo bank classic race

Wout Finally Wins One This Season at E3 SaxoJASPER JACOBS – Getty Images

It was a new—and it has to be said, significantly Hulk-ier—version of Wout on the finish line at E3 Saxo Classic last week. And TBH, we’re not mad about it.

Typically considered one of the more taciturn riders in the pro peloton, Van Aert’s reaction to his sprint win over Mathieu Van der Poel and Tadej Pogačar This was actually refreshing.

cycling bel saxo

JASPER JACOBS – Getty Images

“It’s been a long while since I’ve won a race on the road bike,” he told press post-race. It was clearly an emotional win.

While the race comes ahead of the bigger Flanders Classics Week races—Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders—the racing was still damn good.

If you’re going to win any sprint, winning it against your chief rival on- and off-road (Van der Poel) and freakin’ Pogačar is a good way to do it.

It was especially impressive considering earlier in the 203-kilometer race, Van Aert appeared to be having a tough day, originally losing contact with Van der Poel and Pogačar before reeling them back in.

Another example of UCI’s selective rule enforcement

This race had its fair share of controversy at the finish line. CyclingNews Reports state that Van Aert had his chain lubricated by a team mechanic, looking out of the window of a follow vehicle with 22 km of racing remaining.

Technically illegal—but as Jumbo Visma apparently said afterwards, ‘everybody does it.’

According to CyclingNews, UCI regulations state that “the greasing of chains from a moving vehicle shall be forbidden” with the punishment for the rider being a fine and “elimination or disqualification.”

This was just weeks ago we saw Kristen Faulkner DQ’ed from her podium finish at Strade Bianche for wearing a CGM device (that she submitted paperwork to show wasn’t transmitted), it does seem a little wild that Van Aert isn’t even receiving a slap on the wrist or fine for getting a last-minute chain lube.

According to NieuwsbladThe commissaires decided that he did not receive any benefit from the mid-race oil, so it was not an issue.

We’re stoked on his win, Absolutely. It was a kick-ass sprint, and it’s doubtful his freshly lubed chain gave him that much of an advantage.

And Van Aert shouldn’t be blamed for the UCI not enforcing certain rules and regulations. The UCI should be held responsible for not enforcing certain rules in a selective manner. This creates confusion among racers and sets bad precedents for teams making certain decisions during races.

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