Richie Porte Penalized!…and Rightfully So…

In case you missed it yesterday, big news came out of the Giro d’Italia when one of he major contenders, Richie Porte of Team Sky, was penalized two minutes, severely hampering his General Classification chances.

Was is blood doping? An illegal bike? No to both.

In a kind gesture you may only see in cycling, as Porte flatted with under five miles to go when Simon Clarke, a fellow Aussie riding with Orica-Greenedge, kindly traded wheels with Porte. Furthermore, Michael Matthews, another Aussie from Greenedge, then helped Porte’s pursuit to cut his damages for the remainder of the race.

Not Richie Porte, but an unpenalized Team Sky rider
Not Richie Porte, but an unpenalized Team Sky rider

Porte lost 47 seconds to race leader, Alberto Contador, before the penalty was assessed.

There have been chimes across the internet about how unfair the race director’s decision was, I whole-heartedly support it.

If another team is going to help out a rival during a mechanical, then every team should help out whenever anyone else flats out.

Would Greenedge offered the same assistance if it were Contador? I don’t know, but I’m guessing they’d be more willing to assist their own compatriot.

There are a lot of inequities in cycling that loosely gets enforced, like drafting of a motorcycle or grabbing onto a car, but every rider can choose.

Helping out another team is a bit more discretionary, otherwise you would see it all the time.

It’s unfortunate that this penalty changes the shape of the race as we’ve all been curious to see what Porte could do in the lead role, but I’m sure he’ll get the chance again.

Cycling rules are already jumbled enough that we do not need to create any more gray areas.