Cycling's bottle throw ban maintained

Geraint Thomas after his fall over a bottle on the Giro

The International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Wednesday it had maintained its ban on riders throwing used water bottles to fans, insisting it is dangerous, but has reduced the penalty for doing so.

Riders protested the new rules after Michael Schaer was disqualified from the Tour of Flanders on April 4 for throwing away a bottle to a group of young spectators.

The Swiss rider discarded the object and immediately held his head in his hands realising his mistake.

The practice is long-standing in the sport with supporters collecting them as memorabilia.

The UCI had banned the tradition after incidents caused accidents during races, such as when former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas suffered a costly tumble at the 2020 Giro d'Italia.

Riders can use two or three bottles per hour on a hot day, but the UCI wants them discarded at pre-designated waste-drop zones.

Under the softened rules a rider can no longer be thrown off a race for a first offence.

But the global body said throwing bottles "constitutes a danger for the public and the riders."

"The UCI hopes to avoid situations that can encourage fans, especially young ones trying to get closer to the riders and the race," the UCI said.

A first offence is now punishable with a fine of 90-450 euros ($107-$539).

A second occurence would see a rider docked time in a Tour or thrown off a one day race.

In the case of a third offence on a Tour, a rider would be excluded from the event, the UCI said.

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