Jonathan Vaughters on 'Bottlegate': It's not French bias, it's incompetence
Jul 14 2017 06:19 am CET

Jonathan Vaughters on 'Bottlegate': It's not French bias, it's incompetence

Cannondale-Drapac's Jonathan Vaughters believes that incompetence, rather than a French bias, is to blame for the heavily criticized jury decisions taken in the Tour de France.

Vaughters made the comment following the punishments of Rigoberto Uran and George Bennett in the Tour de France, while French rider Romain Bardet was left unpunished.

All three riders, as well as Serge Pauwels who was also penalized, were seen accepting bottles in the last kilometers of the race. According to the jury, this is illegal even though sources seem to contradict each other on whether this rule also applies on bottles received from fans rather than team staff members.

Uran was seen accepting a bottle from a Cannondale staff member - not a member of the team Cannondale-Drapac - and was handed a 20-seconds time penalty. The Colombian remains in fourth place in the overall standings but at 55 seconds from race leader Fabio Aru rather than 35 seconds.

George Bennett of LottoNL-Jumbo and AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet both accepted bottles from fans moments earlier, in what appeared to be the exact same circumstances. Bennett was penalized for the event while Bardet was not. The Frenchman went on to win the stage.

Although Cannondale-Drapac accepted the penalty in the early evening, Vaughters still wanted an explanation on why some had been handed penalties and others had not.

It took until the late evening for Vaughters to get answers from the UCI, but the ruling remains.

"I have spoken to UCI execs," the American tweeted. "Productive conversation, but wall exists between jury and executive team, so no change in ruling."

Vaughters does not believe that the fact that Bardet was not penalized has anything to do with his nationality. Many fans had critized the jury for going easy on French riders, including Arnaud Demare following his sprint swerve in stage 5 and Nacer Bouhanni after hitting out at Jack Bauer in stage 10.

"I do not think there is a French bias, I think there is incompetence," Vaughters wrote, adding that it "would be better if NO ONE was penalized".
Image: Cannondale-Drapac logo



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