The cycling in the velodrome is compulsive viewing – and just ruined by a quite indefensible decision by a referee.
Before a fully packed stadium, the British time trialist, Jody Cundy, was fouled by the holding gate which did not properly release his bike.
As he struggled to get away, his wheel slipped sideways as he raised his arm in a formal request for a restart over the gate failure.
The referee did not look at the video replay – as it almost always the case. He took an immediate decision, pronounced it rider error and refused a restart. Cundy was therefore disqualified.
The video replay shows a clear resistance to the rider as he tries to leave the gate.
Jody Cundy was visibly – and rightly – furious. He is said to have shouted ‘That’s four years of my life gone.’ And it is.
The referee seems to have based his decision, not on the demonstrable arrest to the athlete as he left the gate’ (which he did not bother to check on the video) but on the wheelslip as Cundy struggled to get away.
The Spanish, whose rider was in the lead before Cundy’s ride, had protested at once against a restart
There is no appeal in cycling.
We cannot understand the logic in having a protest system without an appeal.
Logically, in objective fairness, there are only two ways of dealing with this sort of situation – in addition to the compulsory viewing of video replay by referees:
- no one may approach the referee in any way and the referee’s decision is final;
- both protests and appeals are allowed.
As this stands, a serious error of judgment has occurred, which sours the public perception of a sport that is stealing everyone’s hearts in admiration of its skills, thrills, professionalism and preparedness.
The good news is that the velodrome is perpetuating is reputation as a superb track World records are falling in some number.