Telenet-Fidea rider Rob Peeters was en route to one of the best World Cup performances of his career in Plzen, Czech Republic, when he crossed the line in third place behind race winner Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor). But the 27-year-old learned he'd been disqualified for a botched exchange in the pit.
"There was an error of communication between me and my mechanics," Peeters said. "I was told that they had changed places, so I stopped where I thought they were. I did not see them there. After I had put foot on the ground, I again resumed riding on my dirty bike."
But the pit referee ruled that Peeters had ridden through the pit lane without stopping, and was disqualified.
"We don't want anyone wrongly disqualified, so we asked three times for confirmation from our Czech colleagues and they confirmed that Rob Peeters did not put his foot down. We have also warned the rider during the race that he was disqualified," the UCI official said.
Peeters maintained he did nothing illegal. "I definitely did a stop-and-go. I was very good today. I was going to stand on the podium," the dejected rider said.
While Peeters was able to show his strength in the race in Plzen, American Jeremy Powers never had that opportunity as he was taken down in the first bend only 10m after the start.
Despite having a front-row position thanks to his seventh place last week in Tabor, Powers wound up tangled at the bottom of a mass pile-up after being pushed into the barriers by an overly aggressive maneuver from Italian Elia Silvestri.
The Rapha-Focus rider was then hit with a mechanical that forced him to drop out of the race.
"I got something in my cogs...which snapped my hanger off with two laps to go right at the start/finish," Powers said on his Facebook page. "I hate dropping out of races, an event like today's race for me and the team takes a lot of time and energy...not to mention money. So it's a raw deal. It's not a pity party though, I'm alive and well...just need a couple days to get back to the States and get my rhythm going again!"