Dan Martin disappointed with time penalty, wants to appeal decision
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dan Martin disappointed with time penalty, wants to appeal decision

by Shane Stokes at 8:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Irish rider hit by 40 second fine for pacing back on after toilet break

Dan MartinIrish pro Dan Martin had said that he is frustrated with a decision by the Vuelta a España race commissaires to hit him with a time penalty after Wednesday’s stage, and he and his Garmin-Cervélo team will seek to appeal the sanction.

“I got a 40 second time penalty, but we don’t really understand why,” he told VeloNation on Thursday evening. “It is to do with riding behind the team car for a bit, but normally that is not an issue. I was coming back from a nature break, and it is normal it is overlooked under those circumstances. However yesterday they decided to penalise me.

“We were completely stunned when we got the result last night and we saw that we had been penalised. A lot of the people in the peloton today were like, ‘what the hell did you do?’ They probably never heard of getting a 40 second before, it is crazy.”

While there is a rule against sitting behind team cars, it is something which is regularly ignored in races by commissaires if a rider is returning from a crash, puncture or toilet break. The practices is penalised when there are blatant breaches of the rules, such as when a rider has been dropped or if a rider holds onto the car, but it is rare for a rider in Martin’s position to be affected.

The incident happened after Kurt Asle Arvesen (Sky Procycling) was involved in a bad crash with a spectator. Fortunately both were less badly hurt than might have happened, but the backlog of team vehicles meant that Martin was delayed. As a result he was behind the team car for what he estimates was approximately a minute.

“We don’t really understand why it happened, and it is bit heavy as well. Forty seconds? Okay, if I hung onto the team car for five kilometres, a 40 second penalty is fair enough. But I didn’t even get a bottle off the car! It is a bit disappointing and we are appealing it to try to get the time back. The commissaires refused to listen to us today but we’ll try to talk to them again tomorrow - it is quite a big chunk of time and obviously it could be important when we get to Madrid.”

Martin finished a fine third on Tuesday’s stage to Sierra Nevada, but was 29 seconds back in 30th place on Wednesday’s stage to Valdepeñas de Jaén. He had said beforehand that the finish should have suited him even better than the previous day, so it was unexpected to see him drop time.

“I had a really bad day yesterday,” he explained. “Sleeping at altitude really didn’t work for me. I kind of knew that from previous experiences. I had a really bad night’s sleep and suffered all day, so I was actually really happy to only lose 30 seconds at the finish. Obviously the time bonus added to that made it really disappointing, but then I slept well last night and felt really good in the race today.

“Hopefully things are looking up again and we can get a good day tomorrow and try to get the stage with Tyler. We will look towards the weekend to try to get the GC back on track.”

The 25 year old dropped a little more time today, crossing the line in a large group 23 seconds behind stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas Cannondale) and four others. The move also contained Vincenzo Nibali, the defending race champion.

“What happened is that some guys just lost the wheel on the descent,” he explained. “I tried to be near the front, I was about 15th wheel going into the downhill but the guys right at the front let the wheel go. I am not saying I would have stayed with those guys as they are crazy, but it was bit of time lost.

“However I don’t really think I will be competing with Nibali for the GC anyway! I finished in the front group again and it is one more day down.”

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