Tom Pidcock of Ineos-Grenadiers was relegated for pushing another rider during the finishing sprint of Stage 1 in the Volta ao Algarve. Pidock’s surprise appearance in the bunch happened fast and took many by surprise as he muscled his way through to a fifth place finish.

It was the “muscling” that was the problem when the race jury reviewed the video footage of the finish and concluded Pidcock’s “irregular sprint” resulted in him pushing another rider of his line.

While sprint finishes often look chaotic and out of control, in reality riders at the pro level have bike handling skills that most of us regular folks can only dream of, and sprinters are anything but random.

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What are the UCI rules for sprinting?

According to the UCI rules for sprinting, “deviation from the chosen line that obstructs or endangers another rider or irregular sprint (including pulling the jersey or saddle of another rider, intimidation or threat, blow from the head, knee, elbow, shoulder, hand, etc.)” is strictly disallowed.

The consequence for Pidcock is that he was bumped (pun intended) back to 135th from fifth and received a monetary fine. The overall stage win went to Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team).

Headshot of Natascha Grief
Natascha Grief

Natascha Grief got her first bike shop job before she was old enough to drink. After a six-year stint as a mechanic, earning a couple pro-mechanic certifications and her USA Cycling Race Mechanics license, she became obsessed with framebuilding and decided she wanted to do that next.  After Albert Eistentraut literally shooed her off his doorstep, admonishing that if she pursued framebuilding she will be poor forever, she landed an apprenticeship with framebuilder Brent Steelman in her hometown of Redwood City, CA. After that, she spent several years working for both large and not-so-large cycling brands. Somewhere in there she also became a certified bike fitter. Natascha then became a certified personal trainer and spent nine years honing her skills as a trainer and coach, while also teaching Spin. During the dumpster fire that was the year 2020, she opened a fitness studio and began contributing regularly to Runner’s World and Bicycling as a freelance writer. In 2022, she joined the staff of Bicycling as News Editor.