Rider 1613 has been officially disqualified from the Megavalanche following videos of him cutting the course being released on social media and complaints from competitors.
UCC Sport said [sic]: “Thanks for your testimonies and your “self-control” that allow us to respect sport ethic by merely disqualifying the number 1613 who doesn’t respect the rules. He was 27th at the Megavalanche, that means all competitors after him will be advanced from one place.”
The rider said: ” “I would like to make a sincere apology to everyone at the Megavalache who I passed whilst cutting the course, and I’d also like to extend my apology to the organisers and to my sponsors who continue to support me.
“Very soon after the start of the race, in the heat of the moment I made a very poor decision and jumped out of the taped course and rode down a bank to the next fire road section. In the madness and confusion of the mass start I didn’t realise which part of the track I was on until I reached the fireroad. At this point I just carried on as I thought nobody would care as I was still so far back in the pack, but in hindsight I should’ve stopped and rejoined in the same position that I was in before leaving the course. I am ashamed of my actions and would do anything to go back and undo it, but I guess all I can do is make sure that I never doing anything like it again. Once again, sorry everyone.”
THE story so far:
On Monday, Ben Deakin posted a video of a rider seemingly taking a massive shortcut in the Megavalanche.
Speaking to the rider on Monday, he told us he had been nudged down a bank off the side of the singletrack by another rider and felt terrible when he realised where he was. He claimed he hated seeing French lines at the EWS and that he had probably only gained 15 places.
“Fair enough”, we thought – young kid, probably got caught up in the standard Megavalanche carnage and did what he had to to keep his race going. It’s not worth getting him in trouble for a few page views, Ben Deakin clearly thought the same and the video has pretty much gone from the internet.
This morning, a new video has emerged. Friend of the mag, Aidan Bishop, posted up his view of the race that shows the incident from behind. We’ve slowed down the moment in question below and you can clearly see the rider chooses to hop the tape while being given racing room by the rest of the pack.
It’s made worse by the fact you see Sam Hill and Josh Bryceland in the same video getting stuck in with the carnage just like everyone else.
Aidan, who took the video, told us: “Straight away there were bottle necks and we were off our bikes and walking/barging/running. In the second patch of trail in the group I was stuck in, there was a small rise which people were running round then a big left hander. It was exiting this corner that I saw a rider just decide to turn right, over the tape and cut across to the fireroad below. He cut off a big corner of the course which included a short uphill. I shouted at him in disbelief as did other riders as it was so blatant, that move must have made him about 60 places in one go.
“Now I’ve obviously worked out who the guy is and seen he had a bad qualifier, and as a ‘pro’ category rider got protected status so given a row D start. As a racer I understand the urgency to try and pass as many rider as you can, but in this case the old racing red mist got the better of him and he got carried away?
“I started from row C, which on the full Mega course meant I stood a chance of getting some sort of result if I had a clean run, but from that new start I knew I would need a lot of luck to bag any sort of result, after the first 30 secs of racing I knew that wasn’t happening so had to resign myself to the fact that I had to make the most of it, hence giving Bryceland a help hand up the small climb that the other rider cut out!
“Problem is, I just wouldn’t be pleased with myself at the finish, knowing it wasn’t a result as I took a blatant short cut! Not sure if the guy felt guilty after it or not, but what he will never forget now is that there is always people filming things nowadays!”
Joe Young, who writes our From the Bulkhead series, was riding next to Ben Deakin when the incident occurred. He said: “Lungs burning I dragged my head back up from staring at the ground (it’s always flat if you look down!) out of nowhere a rider appears from my right cruising over the smooth flat rocks.
“I had to do a double take, was I trippin’? On a iconic race such as the mega pretty much every rider rocks a headcam making it even more foolish taking cut lines
“If it was mega steep and was hard to make it back to the tape it wouldn’t have been so bad. Or if he had unknowingly took the line he could have at least waited when he rejoined the track rather than getting straight back on the gas
“I was too buggered to while the incident was occurring to say anything but heard Ben Deakin shouting abuse from behind. Carried on and took her home to 37th overall.”
We’ve reached out to the rider in question for further comment.