Foreword Dany: “I am all for safety in the pro-bunches and protecting nature, but this new ruling is too strict and should be adjusted. It forces the rider to unload their empty bidons only in the litter zones but they are sometimes 30km away from each other or dropping to the team car, this is sometimes not possible and if you get rid of it where fans are situated it will not litter the roads…it will be grabbed within seconds! Wrappers and empty gels excluded, and the same goes for a bidon get thrown in the country area with no spectators. I speak for a lot of other cycling fans who cherish a souvenir, such as a food bag or a bottle thrown at you…it is part of the ambiance and tradition …it brings joy to the fan and the many kids who will love cycling in the future because of such a gift…We need rules…yes…but a bit of leeway is needed and keep the church in the middle a bit!! The disqualification follows an update to the UCI rules, with the sport’s governing body confirming earlier this year that riders could be fined, docked ranking points, and penalised time if they throw objects such as bidons and waste in a careless or dangerous manner or outside of new litter zones.Why not allow the riders to throw their bottles in zones crowded by fans? The bottle will surely be taken home by one of the cycling fans” Michael’s plea to the UCI bosses>>

 “As a child I caught a drinking bottle and started racing”

Photo courtesy of @GettyImages

I remember it as it was yesterday. My parents drove my sister and me to the 1997 Tour de France in the Jura. We drove to the Parcours and waited there for hours in the middle of the crowds. Finally, the publicity caravan arrived and we all caught some treats.
Later the first police motos arrived and the helicopter was hovering above us. Exactly this electrifying atmosphere of the bunch approaching us was for me life-changing. I was endlessly impressed by the speed and ease with which these riders could ride their bikes. I wanted nothing else in my life any more than becoming a pro cyclist myself. From this moment on I was driven by a dream.
On top of that impression, I received a bottle from a Pro. This little plastic piece made my cycling addiction complete. Back home that bottle was reminding me every day of what my dream was. I rode my yellow Team Polti bottle every day in full pride. Everyday.
Now I am one of these Pros who race through all of the happy spectators. During calm moments of the race, I always keep my empty bottle until I see some kids next to the road. Then I throw them gently right where they can catch them safely. Two years ago I gave a bottle to a girl next to the road. Her parents told me the girl wasn’t only happy about this bottle for a day. No, she still talks about this bottle. And maybe one day she becomes a cyclist as well
“, yours in cycling Michael Schar