In 2020, they met in the sprint finish in Poitiers. Peter Sagan pressed on Wouta of Aerta and there was physical contact. That’s when the Slovak cyclist earned a penalty and also an unsportsmanlike gesture from his opponent.
Two years later, they met again, in another controversial finish. This time, the Slovak fans, who did not like him, rioted in particular van Aert’s driving style. A few harsh words were addressed to him as well, but he avoided being penalized.
Why? “Even though these sprints look very similar, the movement of the competitors was different,” the national referee tells Sportnet elite LUKÁŠ RADOSA.
As you saw the fight between Peter Sagan and Wout van Aert in the third stage of this year’s race Tour de France?
van Aert’s driving style was on the edge of the rules. However, it was questionable whether this behavior constituted such an intense breach of the rules that he was penalized by relegation to last place in the group.
In general, when inferring responsibility for a violation of the rules, it is necessary to proceed more leniently with doubts. We can assume that it was so in this case as well.
What does judging a controversial situation look like?
First of all, the assessment of a serious situation and the arbitration verdict is a collective decision, where in the case of differing opinions there is a vote and a majority decision.
The panel of judges examines the given situation and discusses whether it was in accordance with the rules and whether there was a threat to other competitors.
What is key in such a race from the point of view of the referees?
It is important to keep track of several things when driving like this. First of all, whether the competitor deviated from his line in the final phase of the sprint.
If so, did he restrict or endanger the other competitors? Was there physical contact? The referees also take into account whether this is the first such violation or whether it has already happened in previous stages.
How was this fight different from the one from 2020?