The first WorldTour race with the new UCI safety rules immediately caused a lot of commotion on Sunday.

Two less well-known riders were inexorably kicked out of the Tour of Flanders by the jury, but winner Annemiek van Vleuten was allowed to throw a water bottle away with impunity in the women's race.

"I saw a blue jacket on the side of the road and thought it was someone from my Movistar team", Van Vleuten said about the moment at about 40 kilometers from the finish when she threw a water bottle away.

"In retrospect it turned out not to be the case, but I had not seen that at that speed."

As of April 1, a number of new UCI rules came into effect, which should increase safety in the peloton.

The immediate cause was a number of serious accidents last season, including Fabio Jakobsen as the victim.

The Tour of Flanders was the first WorldTour race in which riders were no longer allowed to sit on their bars, lean their arms on the handlebars and throw away their water bottles everywhere.

And that is where it went wrong.

The jury intervened hard by disqualifying the Swiss Michael Schär and the Italian Letizia Borghesi, the sanction for throwing away a water bottle in a one-day race.

But when not a servant, but top favorite Van Vleuten threw her water bottle towards a spectator outside the designated zone, it remained silent.

Video

@DigitalNomadPCS @GinoVierhouten @ProCyclingStats

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Avatar AuthormarijnbietstMoment of places16: 21 - April 4, 2021

For the users of the app: tap the tweet for a video of Annemiek van Vleuten throwing away a water bottle.

'As a child those water bottles were a trophy'

Greg Van Avermaet called the exclusion of his AG2R teammate Schär "a bit strange".

"There are a lot of fans in Belgium who really want a water bottle. I was like that as a child, when I got hold of a water bottle from a professional, it was a trophy for my bedroom," said the Belgian who finished third. in the Tour of Flanders.

The water bottle rule is not only there to increase safety in the peloton, but also to protect the environment.

"I think we are all aware that we should not throw things into nature," said Van Avermaet.

"We shouldn't throw wrapping papers on the road. But a water bottle, especially in Flanders with all that audience, is usually taken by a fan. Very few of them are left on the roadside."

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#TourDesFlandes, Michael Schar del AG2R Citroën olvidó las nuevas disposiciones UCI y por entregar su caramañola a los aficionados fue descalificado.Dónde quedó la empatía? Así siempre perderá el ciclismo.

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Avatar AuthoruriPepeMansillaMoment of places15: 44 - April 4, 2021

For the users of the app: tap the tweet for a video of MIchael Schär throwing a water bottle away and being put off course.

'Disqualifying immediately goes against your sense of logic'

Not only Van Avermaet, but also many other riders said that the penalty was too severe.

"In such a first competition, the jury naturally wants to make a point right away," said Dylan van Baarle, who finished tenth in 'Flanders'.

"When it was forbidden to ride on bicycle paths, they were very strict about it in the beginning. They are now letting go a bit, that's how it will be with water bottles."

Marianne Vos thought it was especially crazy to see how all riders threw their water bottles and other rubbish away en masse in the designated

litter zones

.

"But these are the rules now, we will have to get used to that," she said.

"In itself it is good that we don't just leave our waste everywhere. But you can discuss whether you should be immediately disqualified if you accidentally drop a piece of paper or if you throw a water bottle at the public", says Vos.

"That is very strict and goes against your sense of logic."

But shouldn't the punishment that Schär and Borghesi received also apply to Van Vleuten?

"My victory has not been stolen, I have not done anything wrong or harmed nature. And I really do not want to comment on it," said the winner.

"I am still enjoying the victory rush and I would like to stay that way for a while."

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These new rules apply to riders during the Tour of Flanders