Tour de France jury chairman Philippe Marien: We need a video referee for sprints
Jul 28 2017 01:09 pm CET

Tour de France jury chairman Philippe Marien: We need a video referee for sprints
Tour de France jury chairman Philippe Marien: We need a video referee for sprints


Philippe Marien, chairman of the jury at the recent Tour de France and the main target of criticism following Peter Sagan's disqualification, believes that cycling needs a video referee for sprints.

In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, the Belgian says that the addition of such a referee would make the job of the jury much easier.

"We need a video referee, just like in football. That referee should watch TV and only focus on the final sprint. That way we wouldn't have to study the images afterwards anymore and the decision will be taken right away," he said.

Marien added that the UCI promised to look into this possibility right away.

The jury received criticism on multiple occasions in this Tour de France but never quite as intensely as after the disqualification of Peter Sagan at the end of stage 4.

"When that happened, a good friend sent me a message telling me to avoid watching TV, e-mails, Facebook and Twitter. I got e-mails from all around the world. Whatever we would have decided, we would have received criticism anyway," he explained.

"I didn't realize what was coming my way. I was shocked when I saw the pictures in the newspaper afterwards, with 50 cameras aimed at me. But I insisted. I lost my life partner to cancer at the start of this year. I thought of him and the 64 chemo treatments he underwent, when I looked into the eyes of the global press. Then you realize that this is easy compared to what he went through. That gave me strength."

Marien does miss being able to talk to his partner after difficult decisions. "In the Tour of 2011 when I was the jury chairman as well, and also in the Giro of 2008 and the Olympic Games of 2012 and 2016 where I was part of the jury, I would often call him after the competition. Those phone calls took away a lot of pressure. Not this time."

The decision to disqualify Sagan came after an initial report of the world champion receiving a time and points penalty, which only led to more confusion as the evening progressed. Marien explained in the interview that the initial report was incorrect and never should have been made public.

"The first possibility was only mentioned as an option between the jury members. It never should have gone public. We only took one decision."
Image: UCI logo



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