Michael Schär after Tour de Flanders DQ: We are the most approachable sport
Apr 06 2021 01:48 am CET

Michael Schär after Tour de Flanders DQ: We are the most approachable sport
Michael Schär after Tour de Flanders DQ: We are the most approachable sport
AG2R Citroën Team

Michael Schär (AG2R Citroën) has written an open message to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) after being disqualified from the Tour of Flanders for throwing an empty bottle to some fans.

The Swiss rider has been part of the professional peloton since 2006 and has started in the Belgian monument 14 times. On the 2021 edition of the race, and just days after the stronger regulations of the UCI were put in place, Schär threw an empty bottle to some of the fans on the side of the road, something that was fairly common in all the races and now is forbidden.

The rider was disqualified moments later, leaving Greg Van Avermaet without one of his men, a decision that has been heavily criticised by riders and fans. Schär decided to defend his case in social media through an open message.

The rider remembered the moments that inspired him to become a professional rider, when his parents took him to a stage of the 1997 Tour de France. "Exactly this electrifying atmosphere of the bunch approaching us was for me life changing," he wrote. "I was endlessly impressed by the speed and ease these riders could ride their bikes. I wanted nothing else in my life any more than becoming a pro cyclist myself.

"From this moment on I was driven by a dream. On top of that impression I received a bottle from a Pro. This little plastic piece made my cycling addiction complete."

Then he explained that he tried to cause the same impression in the new generations. "During calm moments of the race I always keep my empty bottle until I see some kids next to the road," the message continues. "Then I throw them gently right where they can catch it safely. Two years ago I gave a bottle to a girl next to the road. Her parents told me the girl wasn’t only happy about this bottle for a day. No, she still talks about this bottle. And maybe one day she becomes a cyclist as well.

"These are moments why I love our sport. Nobody ever can take that away from us. We are the most approachable sport who gives bottles along the way. Simple as that. Simple is cycling."

Complete message:

"Dear UCI: WHY KIDS START CYCLING

I remember it as it was yesterday. My parents drove my sister and me to the 1997 Tour de France in the Jura. We drove to the parcours and waited there for hours in the middle of the crowds. Finally the publicity caravan arrived and we all caught some treats.

Later, the first police motos arrived and the helicopter was hovering above us. Exactly this electrifying atmosphere of the bunch approaching us was for me life changing. I was endlessly impressed by the speed and ease these riders could ride their bikes. I wanted nothing else in my life any more than becoming a pro cyclist myself. From this moment on I was driven by a dream.

On top of that impression I received a bottle from a Pro. This little plastic piece made my cycling addiction complete. Back home that bottle was reminding me everyday of what my dream was. I rode my yellow Team Polti bottle everyday in full pride. Everyday.

Now I am one of these Pros who race through all of the happy spectators. During calm moments of the race I always keep my empty bottle until I see some kids next to the road. Then I throw them gently right where they can catch it safely. Two years ago I gave a bottle to a girl next to the road. Her parents told me the girl wasn’t only happy about this bottle for a day. No, she still talks about this bottle. And maybe one day she becomes a cyclist as well.

These are moments why I love our sport. Nobody ever can take that away from us. We are the most approachable sport who gives bottles along the way. Simple as that. Simple is Cycling."

SUBSCRIBE TO RSS FEEDS

MICHAEL SCHÄR





COMMENTS