• Astana's Jakob Fuglsang addresses media prior to Stage 9 regarding Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot allegedly slipstreaming motos on Stage 8 at the Tour. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Astana's Jakob Fuglsang calls for minimum distance between riders and motorbikes after accusing race leader Julian Alaphilippe of slipstreaming during a late attack with Thibaut Pinot on Stage 8 to Saint-Étienne.
Cycling Central

15 Jul 2019 - 11:09 AM  UPDATED 15 Jul 2019 - 11:16 AM

A day after hurling allegations of slipstreaming toward race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Astana's Jakob Fuglsang found himself surrounded by media requesting follow-up statements prior to Stage 9.

Despite admittedly not being able to review the race footage overnight due to ASO content restrictions, the recent winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné is still under the impression that both riders benefited from drafting the race's camera motos.

"I haven't had a look at the video – everything is restricted from the Tour so it's not so easy to find – but I'm still of the same opinion," admitted the 34-year-old Dane. "If you go over the top full gas and the guys in front get just a little bit of draft that can make the difference.

"I don't blame the riders. For me, it's the motorcyclists that need to get out of the way, and they have the engine to do that."

Alaphilippe defends against moto-drafting allegations
Deceuninck-QuickStep's Julian Alaphilippe was on the defensive after both Jakob Fuglsang and Bauke Mollema accused the Frenchman of slipstreaming to retake yellow on Stage 8.

Alaphilippe denied any wrongdoing, and according to Tour technical director Thierry Gouvenouno no formal complaints have been filed. However, based on a recent study from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, riders can experience a reduction in drag of 7 per cent even when a leading motorbike is some 50m away. That finding is not lost on Fuglsang.

"That's a poor regulation if you still get an advantage until 50m," said Fuglsang referring to the UCI's lack of a minimum distance between motorbikes and riders in its official race guidelines.

"You need to make a rule that a motorbike cannot stay closer than 50m in front," he continued. "I know that sometimes you don't get the close-up pictures you want, but if studies say that a motorbike even 50m away still makes a difference, then it needs to stay more than 50m away. They have to figure out a way to make it stay away if they don't want to influence the race."