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During one of this week's stages of the Giro d'Italia, Richie Porte had a 'technical' issue with his bike that caused him to lose a number of minutes from the peloton. It was of significance as it was less than 10k from the finish and as a result was always going to be difficult for him to regain the time lost on the other GC contenders.

His team mates obviously did their best to pull him pack to the rest of the group. This included the whole team drafting behind one of the Team Sky cars for a period of time.

My question is: Why is this allowed? Surely he/they are gaining an unfair advantage over the rest of the riders.

Addtionally:

  • Would it have been the same if he'd have fallen off 10k from the start line?
  • Would he have been allowed to do so if he was two minutes in front of the peloton when he crashed?
  • How is it decided what drafting is appropriate, and what penalties are handed out when it is deemed the riders gained some advantage they were otherwise unentitled to.
  • Good answer from @gaurwraith, but just to add another perspective - this year the Giro is competing directly with the Tour of California on the schedule. I wonder if there is an element of the organisers using their...discretion... so as not to rub the teams up the wrong way? Especially when the action didn't affect either the stage results or the GC? Sure they have a responsibility to run a fair race, but they are also looking to attract name teams and riders. And the Giro has struggled to do that in recent years. – PeteH May 22 '15 at 19:34
  • I suppose the tour of California hadn't actually finished before the Giro started this year. And it managed to tempt some big names (Cavendish etc.) away from the Giro – kaybee99 May 22 '15 at 20:41
  • Also I meant Porte, not Froome of course – kaybee99 May 22 '15 at 20:42
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It is not allowed by UCI rules, but comissars usually allow it if it is due to mechanical reasons and used to get back to the peloton, since they have discretional ability to decide. Time penalties or disqualification if used to gain advantage over the peloton. So, rule enforcement may vary depending on many circumstances, and I guess they don't want to lose stars like Froome, that could also be important when turning a blind eye on some minor issue

  • I didn't realise it was so vague and non specific. Seems open to abuse if no firm rules are in place – kaybee99 May 22 '15 at 16:31
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    Systems of rules with little to no oversight, but policy heavy are actually very easy to abuse. Systems that have less policy but heavy oversight (a comissar in this case) are actually very hard to abuse because a person is making a decision in each case. A single person in charge of such a thing is able to navigate grey situations and make decisions based on intent, rather then blindly following a policy. – Deleted User May 22 '15 at 17:12
  • If you look at the Giro these days, at least in Spain, commentators stress how "rules this year are being strictly applied" (implying that other years it may have not been so) or "we'll have to wait and see what the commissars decide before knowing who gets the maglia rossa" (after crash today). These commisars can change the outcome of the race, so they need to be very careful... For isntance I don't know how Richie Porte gets a penalty 3 days ago for accepting a team mate's wheel after a flat, and Contador can get the whole bike from his teammate after today's crash – gaurwraith May 22 '15 at 18:38
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    Almost makes you wish there were no cars and riders were required to fix their own bike with equipment they carried with them. – Kibbee May 22 '15 at 20:53
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    Porter got a penalty from accepting a wheel from a rider on another team, not a rider on his own team. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog May 22 '15 at 22:31

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