Magnus Backstedt believes the decision to expel Michael Schar from the Tour of Flanders for discarding a water bottle was a mistake.
AG2R Citroen’s Schar was expelled from the Tour of Flanders for littering after he threw a water bottle to spectators on the side of the road, but did so outside of permitted discarding zones.
New designations from 1 April mean that, while the rules can still be applied using discretion, riders can be excluded from a race for breaking the protocols.
Ronde van Vlaanderen
Women's Tour of Flanders highlights: Boels-Dolmans masterclass in De Ronde
18/10/2020 AT 18:02
Former cyclist Backstedt hit out at the decision, believing that giving bottles to those who come to support the race is part of the race experience.
“I don’t agree with that one because he clearly throws the bottle to the spectators who are standing on the side of the road,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned when you’re throwing it to spectators that’s part of the marketing for the team, really. You’ve got kids and anyone who picks up that bottle...
“It’s memorabilia from when you’ve been to the race and that’s something you take home with you, and it’s part of the marketing for the teams really.
“Chucking it out on the field, littering, that’s a different thing.”
GCN’s Dan Lloyd pointed out that such is the popularity of the bottles, that, “Often it’s adults stealing from children!”

'I don't agree with that one' - Should Michael Schar have been disqualified for bottle throw?

Simon Richardson suggested that the new rules add a new layer of complexity to the roles in the teams, and what cyclists have to be aware of.
“That’s going to be another thing to add to the list: when you can litter?” he said.
“What extra jobs does it give the domestiques?
“If you’re a team leader and you need a bottle, you can’t throw it, you’re going to have to hand it back, and the domestique is going to have to give it back to the car.”
Ronde van Vlaanderen
Van der Poel vs Van Aert: One of cycling's greatest rivalries in the making
18/10/2020 AT 16:54
Ronde van Vlaanderen
Van den Broek-Blaak wins Flanders with brilliant solo attack
18/10/2020 AT 15:42