Blythe disqualified from Tour of Oman final stage for 'irregular bike change'

Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) had an anti-climactic finish to the Tour of Oman after he was disqualified for an 'irregular bike change' on stage 6. Blythe had been targeting victory on the stage, which was won by Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), after finishing sixth in the bunch sprint on day 1.

Blythe had an issue with his bike and, as the race approached the final circuits around the Matrah Corniche, the team decided to change it. Unlike with the roof racks on the team's usual cars, the racks on the vehicles at the Tour of Oman do not allow full bikes to be placed into them so they must be attached with one wheel missing. The team was given permission to go ahead and prepare the bike, but there appeared to be confusion as to how the bike must be given to Blythe.

"The guys went ahead to get my bike ready so that I could change it because I had a problem with it beforehand," Blythe explained after arriving at the team parking area while the race continued around him. "So, as the peloton went past, I went ahead and changed my bike and started to get back to the bunch and then the commissaire said, 'No, you're out'. It was behind the peloton when I changed, which is allowed. The car was still there, it's not like they left it there."

President of the race jury Jean-Pierre Coppenolle explained after the race that while the team had been allowed to go up the road to give them time to set-up the bike for Blythe, the bike needed to be delivered from the team car and not from the side of the road, which is what happened.  

"The team manager of Blythe asked me if he could go to the front of the bunch to prepare the bike. I said ok, I understand because the new system with the brakes is not easy," said Coppenolle. "He went to the front and prepared the bike but for the changing of the bike it must happen from the behind the bunch and from the car, and only from the car. He gave him the bike but from the ground, that is not allowed in the rules."

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