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Eekhoff takes UCI to court over controversial World Championships disqualification

Joe Robinson
21 Oct 2019

Dutchman was stripped of rainbow jersey after drafting his team car early in the race. Photo: Chris Auld

Young Dutch rider Nils Eekhoff has taken the UCI to the Court of Arbitration for Sport following his controversial disqualification at the under 23 road race World Championships in Yorkshire.

The 21-year-old crossed the Harrogate finish line first, raising his arms in the air believing he had won the rainbow jersey.

However, after a long period of deliberation and confusion, the race jury found Eekhoff had drafted a team car for an extended period to regain contact with the peloton. Eekhoff was then disqualified with the victory being handed to Italy's Samuele Batistella.

Eekhoff is now challenging the UCI's decision, taking the case to CAS with the full support of the Dutch Cycling Association, KNWU, with its director Thorwald Veneberg pointing towards the potential hypocrisies within the decision.

'For Nils, I hope justice will come, then there is only one step left: to the CAS,' said Veneberg. 'It is very clear in the rules that you are not allowed to stay [behind the car], we will not discuss that. But we are mainly concerned with the timing and application of the consequences thereof.

'We definitely do not know what the result will be. But we certainly hope that this rule will be looked at carefully. Now it happens very often that someone who has fallen behind due to a fall or a flat tyre is driven back by a car. If that is not tolerated, then it almost always means the end of the race after a fall or a flat tyre. But that must apply to everyone.'

Veneberg also pointed towards the support Eekhoff received in the wider cycling community. Many of those within the elite peloton called the UCI's decision naive, making similar comparisons to Veneberg.

Details of when CAS will hear the case are yet to be released.