Rule-makers at cycling world governing body the UCI have been ridiculed and drawn an angry reaction after Michael Schar was shockingly disqualified from top event the Tour of Flanders for throwing his water bottle towards fans.
The Swiss AGR2 star was competing in the showdown in Belgium when he was deemed to have broken rules by harmlessly throwing his bidon into the cheering crowds, appearing to do so as a way of giving the recipient a keepsake.
Allowed to continue through a lengthy chase and two changes of bike, the jury eventually pulled Schar over and told him to stop racing.
Rather than being eliminated for bad conduct towards bystanders, though, his afternoon was ended for littering.
“I thought it was a joke but Michael Schar really has been DSQ for throwing a bottle to the fans,” one angry fan wrote in a Twitter rant aimed at racing bigwigs. “Absolutely ridiculous and absurd. Shame, UCI.
Please make it clear, @UCI_cycling ! Throwing stuff in OPEN NATURE should be forbidden, not throwing to the fans. Yesterday, one of the guys who finished on the podium in GP Indurain threw away his gel in the ditch (no people around) LIVE ON TV and you did nothing! #RVV21
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) April 4, 2021
Fans love this stuff, don’t stop it! Who gonna use the bottle without washing it first?
— MechPat (@mechpat62) April 4, 2021
“Please make it clear, UCI. Throwing stuff in open nature should be forbidden, not throwing to the fans.
“Yesterday, one of the guys who finished on the podium in [the] GP Indurain threw away his gel in the ditch [with] no people around live on TV and you did nothing.”
Immediately disqualify that kid asking for the bottle. Come on @uci_cycling you can do it!
— Arjen Vervoort (@ArjenH2Os) April 4, 2021
@UCI_cycling@UCI_media what an embarrassment your organization is..fans love this, the spectator asked for it..how on earth can you destroy a riders dream..for another of your ridiculous rules.You are driving people away from the sport, you should hang your heads in shame.
— anenglishmaninspain (@AndyElche) April 4, 2021
A seemingly cooler reply asked: “Is it really a littering thing or is it a Covid thing? Throwing a bottle to fans in a pandemic would be a bit of a risk, wouldn’t it?”
“Life is a risk,” came the snappy answer.
incompetent imbeciles! This is a shame for our sport!
— V ❗️D 🚴🏻🏀 (@vid8p) April 4, 2021
“If the UCI cares so much about ecology, they should reduce the amount of vehicles following the race instead [of] disqualifying a cyclist for throwing a bottle towards a fan,” pointed out a punter.
“It’s ridiculous,” scoffed another.
Ridiculous! Give a money fine but DSQ is too hard.
— Mr Marcel (@michelvanwies) April 4, 2021
Ah, they are going to ruin everything with this stupid rules 🙈🤬
— Tjaša S. (@tja_smo) April 4, 2021
Schar’s bizarre dismissal is the consequence of an update to UCI rules which came in at the start of the month.
From now on, ranking points can be docked if riders “jettison” objects including “food, bonk-bags, feeding bottles, clothes, etc” in any area except newly designated litter zones.