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Giro d'Italia 2018 : Aru docked 20 seconds for illegal drafting in time trial

Joe Robinson
23 May 2018

Three UAE-Team Emirates docked time as UCI crack down on drafting

When you think a result seems too good to be true, it usually turns out to be that way. After an eyebrow-raising - quite literally for Tony Martin – time trial performance at the Giro d'Italia yesterday, Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates) has found himself docked 20 seconds for illegal drafting of a motorbike.

The Italian surprised many yesterday when he rolled across the line on Stage 16 just 37 seconds adrift of race winner Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing). 

Not known as a specialist against the clock, Aru had also found himself short of form throughout this Giro, starting the day almost 25 minutes down on race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

So when the Italian finished the stage in sixth many asked questions around the performance.

After the race had concluded, chief commissiare of the race Randall Shafer announced that the UCI judges had decided to dock Aru of 20 seconds due to the illegal drafting of a police motorbike. This decision was taken after a review of various television images.

Shafer commented, 'We had some that were significant and others that were not so significant. And some that we want to enforce the fact that we’re watching and that the television is watching, that the media is watching and that the public is watching.'

Aru was one of three UAE riders to be handed penalties on the stage. Diego Ulissi and Valerio Conti received 2-minute fines with Conti allegedly drafting Ulissi for significant parts of the course.

Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Remi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors) were also handed 30-second penalties for drafting infringements.

While this has no real bearing on the fight for General Classification, it will offer some consolation to the likes of Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) and Chad Haga (Team Sunweb) who bumped up to sixth and seventh respectively on the stage.

It would also have put the mind of Martin at ease who rather visibly should his dibelief at the peformance of Aru.

Away from the dubious performance of Aru, the race for pink went against the predictions of many with Yates withstanding the assaults of Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) to maintain a 56-second lead.

Meanwhile, a solid ride from Chris Froome (Team Sky) saw the Brit move to fourth on GC, 39 seconds behind Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) with five stages remaining.