Brailsford on Porte’s wheel change: The 'spirit of the law' has not been recognised

Team Sky's Principal Dave Brailsford has shown a mixture of disappointment and resolve to continue fighting for the maglia rosa after his leader for the Giro d'Italia Richie Porte was handed a two-minute penalty for “non-regulation assistance to a rider of another team” during stage 10.

Porte received the penalty after puncturing late on the stage to Forli and getting a front wheel from Orica-GreenEdge rider Simon Clarke. Porte lost 47 seconds as he fought, unsuccessfully, to get back to the bunch and then later in the evening he was docked a further two minutes. He is now 12th on GC, 3:09 back on Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Both Brailsford and sports director Dario Cioni came to the Giro d’Italia headquarters in Forli in the evening, leaving with the confirmation of the penalty.

Brailsford argued to Cyclingnews that Porte’s case had been treated according to UCI regulations but that given the idea of fair play had been behind the wheel change, the "spirit of the law" had not been recognised.

“It just goes to show you that you can either live by the letter of the law or the spirit of the law,” Brailsford said, talking calmly as he headed for his team car.

“Most people would accept that that was one of the most interesting, instinctive moments of fair play we’ve seen in sport for a long time, particularly in our sport, which has been a bit blighted by issues of unfair play.

“However, there’s a lesson in there, isn’t there?  That [if] it’s the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law then that’s that. We’ll keep fighting and hope we don’t get another puncture and just take it on the chin, I guess.”

Concerning Clarke’s decision to help Porte out itself, Brailsford argued that “It’s a shame that people can’t see the sense of it, really most people will watch that and most people will think that actually it’s a fair gesture, he didn’t gain any unfair advantage.

“Ultimately we live to fight another day. But I think we’ll sleep on it and see what happens tomorrow.”

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.