It was announced earlier today on the Mavic Trans-Provence Twitter that six riders were to be penalised for cutting the course during the morning of the race:
Due to the point-to-point nature of this long-distance event, we do not station marshalls at regular intervals along the route. We employ a sweeper system with one back marker for each wave of 28 riders. The back markers are highly competent riders with an in-depth knowledge of bike repair and first aid
Although rules are clearly laid out before the start of the race and all riders receive an official set of rules in the pre-event pack, how can these be upheld on an un-taped course with no marshals. Are riders deliberately taking advantage, or is it an easy mistake to make during such a tough race?
Support is clearly provided from organisers when comes to the course:
Route finding on Mavic® Trans-Provence is not complex. As such we use a minimalist approach to signposting, i.e. before key junctions, plus some repeater signs on long sections between junctions. In addition to this, competitors are be provided with substantial navigational back-up via the following means:
• an evening briefing at the end of dinner, every day
• a morning briefing at the trailhead, every day
• full stage-by-stage course description with map prints in the form of a personal booklet
• the option each evening to upload .gpx data to ones GPS unit for the following day’s stages
The same thing happened during last years race with riders taking an alternative line despite the organiser providing signs for the riders to follow. Ash Smith gave this official race director’s statement after stage five:
“On the Mavic Trans-Provence 2012 Day 5 (Thursday 27/09/2012), approximately 15 riders were accused of, and subsequently admitted to, “cutting the course” at the start of special stage 17.”
Penalties were given and the problems were addressed by organisers as to why this had occurred:
“The complex set of circumstances of which the stage start situation was comprised, and the lack of information from Trans-Provence staff sources regarding rider discussions, decisions and actions, leads Trans-Provence race director to believe that the standard three-minute course cut penalty cannot not be applied. Nevertheless, due to the fact that most riders did ride the corner in question correctly, a penalty reflecting the time gained by the offending riders was applied. The penalty given was 30 seconds.”
The riders have not yet been named, and the race organisers will be releasing a statement later on today. More news to follow.
What do you think, are riders just making an simple mistake on the course, or is it a deliberate action to save time in order to win? Let us know.