RadioShack Leopard appeals Horner jersey loss, but team and rider ultimately accept result
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RadioShack Leopard appeals Horner jersey loss, but team and rider ultimately accept result

by Shane Stokes at 3:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
“The gap on the photo finish was 1.01 seconds…there is no discussion”

Chris HOrnerAlthough two US commentators, some journalists and a number of fans cried foul immediately after the stage, both the deposed race leader Chris Horner and his RadioShack Leopard team have accepted the time loss which saw the red leader’s jersey pass to Vincenzo Nibali today.

Horner finished 26th on the stage to Fisterra, ten places behind Vincenzo Nibali. Crucially for the American, there was a gap between the riders who finished 21st and 22nd on the stage, Bartosz Huzarski (Team NetApp-Endura) and Dominik Nerz (BMC Racing Team).

The race judges determined there was a one second difference between the latter duo. Under UCI rules, where the times for each group are taken from the lead rider in each [rather than the time difference of the gap itself], that one second split became a six second gulf.

Horner had started the day three seconds clear of Nibali, and now finds himself three seconds behind and back in his standard RadioShack Leopard team kit for tomorrow.

Team spokesman Philippe Maertens confirmed that the squad did initially query the result, but that it accepted the timekeepers’ ruling. “I hear we did appeal, but gap on photo finish was 1.01 seconds,” he told VeloNation.

“Between position 21 and 22 there is a gap of more than a second. And as number 22 finishes 6 seconds later than Moreno, and as Nibali was in the group of Moreno - the gap between Moreno and Cancellara less than a second - there is no discussion.”

Horner was sanguine about the result. He described yesterday’s stage win and scooping of the red jersey as his best-ever result, but he accepts today’s outcome.

“It was a beautiful stage, even the end was fantastic,” he said. “There was a small gap at the end and that happens sometimes. For me it’s no problem since now I can finish the stage, return to the bus, shower, relax and prepare for the next stage.”

He knows that both he and his team will save energy, and consequently sees an upside to what happened. “There is only a small time difference of three seconds so we will try to take the jersey again when we go to the mountains. I’m going to always remember yesterday and how it felt to take the jersey but the important day to have it is at the end.

“It’s not good for the sponsors to lose the jersey of course, but it’s ok for now and I will use my good legs to get it back. I plan to have a fantastic Vuelta.”

Team-mate Fabian Cancellara went close to a second consecutive stage win by the team, going after Dani Moreno after the Katusha rider jumped clear on the final climb, and drawing gradually closer as the line approached. However he ran out of space and had to accept second place.

“When 55kg are jumping away it’s different from 85kg going,” he said, referring to himself and Moreno.

“At the end it’s easy to say I went too late, but I had a great team today, riding well for Chris and then for me on the stage. In the last twenty kilometres I was trying to decide if I should try for it or not. I figured I had nothing to lose. It was something I needed to try, so I’m happy and good with the result.”

The team can be pleased with its display thus far, and will be psyched for tomorrow’s fifth stage.

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