• Orica-GreenEDGE's Simon Clarke gives Richie Porte a push after a wheel change (Giro d'Italia on Facebook) (Giro d'Italia on Facebook)Source: Giro d'Italia on Facebook
There are rules and there are rules but the one the Giro d’Italia organisers applied overnight, dishing out an unnecessarily punitive two-minute time penalty to Richie Porte, is a missed opportunity for cycling.
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20 May 2015 - 8:12 AM  UPDATED 20 May 2015 - 11:30 AM

If you’re coming in late, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) retained the overall lead, and Fabio Aru (Astana) held his second position on the general classification.

But Richie Porte (Sky), who started the stage in third place overall, 22 seconds behind Contador, conceded 47 seconds to the man at the head of the race after a mechanical problem 6km from the finish line.

Panic ensued and in a moment of sportsmanship and mateship he received assistance from fellow Australian Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) and was also helped in the chase to the finish by Michael Matthews - also Orica-GreenEDGE.

Aussies from different teams helping other Aussies in a desperate time of need, how Aussie is that?

Back on the bike and Porte scrambled to minimise the damage. The 47 seconds lost should have been enough. But no. The race jury stepped in to punish this act of sportsmanship and mateship further.

Porte is now 12th overall, 3min 9sec behind Contador, and 200 Swiss Francs lighter in the wallet.

"It is obviously disappointing that a sporting gesture made in the heat of the moment has resulted in such a strong penalty. No one was trying to gain an unfair advantage, Sky boss David Brailsford said.

"This has however just strengthened our resolve and determination to fight for this race. Richie and the whole team are ready to take it on and there is a lot of this Giro left."

The rule is this: Non-regulation assistance to a rider of another team, stage races.

We get that. It's a rule. But…

And some riders agree.

Cycling is a troubled sport. From poor governance to lax workplace practices, doping and gender inequality. So when a shining example of sportsmanship and mateship comes along it should grab it with both hands.

Here was a moment that defined what the sport should aspire to, not what it usually is in the headlines of major publications around the world. Instead, it was punished severely.

Interestingly the time penalty plus the 47 seconds behind Contador and Aru is almost exactly the amount many experts say Porte will put into both riders in the 59.4km Stage 14 individual time trial. He was expected to take a commanding race lead at that point. Now it's unlikely.

Read into that what you will. 

Was the Richie Porte time penalty fair?
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