Cyclists fined for riding in bike lanes during Three Days of De Panne race

Tom Bryant
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert of Quick-Step Floors was one of the cyclists fined for riding in a bike lane.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: David Stockman/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert of Quick-Step Floors was one of the cyclists fined for riding in a bike lane. Photograph: David Stockman/AFP/Getty Images

Bike enthusiasts the world over have been calling out for more cycle lines to be created, but when 15 professional riders used them during a race, they were each fined.

During the first stage of the Three Days of De Panne event in Zottegem, Belgium, competitors used bike lanes and the pavement. Riders, including the stage winner Philippe Gilbert, were fined 200 Swiss Francs (£160) for the transgression, which offered them a shortcut and a means of avoiding the cobbles on the steep climb up the Muur hill.

Spectators had to leap out of the way of the cyclists who also ignored a race marshal who was warning them of a parked car leading to a near miss.

“We can’t do much, there were too many riders in the wrong,” Joel Alies, the UCI’s head commissaire for the race, told Het Nieuwsblad. “We can’t throw all the riders out of the race. However there will be a special communiqué issued which makes it clear that anyone who rides on the footpath will be excluded.”

Laurenzo Lapage, directeur sportif at Orica-Scott told Het Nieuwsblad that he had told his cyclists not to ride on the pavement: “It’s dangerous for the riders and the spectators but when a rider is on the limit, they thinks about things differently. We need a change in mentality.”

Gilbert won the stage with a solo break and was later fined, as were Marco Haller, Dries Devenyns, Jasper Buyst, Luke Durbridge, Alex Edmondson, Christoph Pfingsten, Matthias Brandle, Boy van Poppel, Simone Consonni, Alexandre Pichot, Pierre-Luc Perichon, Frederik Backaert, Ole Forfang and Rob Ruijgh.

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