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“That’s not responsible at all”: Belgian junior scolded for adjusting front wheel with Allen key during world championships road race

“He doesn't even know what way to do it, he’s gone left, he’s gone right”, former pro Nicolas Roche said of Sente Sentjens’ risky manoeuvre ...

In another telling indicator of the reality of the post-quick release era, promising Belgian teenager Sente Sentjens was forced to undertake some DIY adjustments on his bike during the junior world road race championships in Glasgow today – by using an Allen key to tighten what appeared to be a loose front wheel… while trying to keep up with the bunch.

After noticing an issue with his front wheel with around 80km to go in today’s junior race, 17-year-old Sentjens, who will join Alpecin-Deceuninck’s development team in 2024, was handed the tool from Belgium’s mechanic and attempted to lean over and tighten the through-axle himself, all while keeping pace with the group in front.

Sentjens’ spot of on-the-fly DIY bike mechanics, which also involved the teenager having to take a number of tight turns on the Glasgow city centre circuit and even saw him inadvertently loosen the wheel at first, was criticised by former professional rider Nicolas Roche, commentating as part of the UCI’s live feed.

“That’s not responsible at all,” the Irishman said. “He doesn't even know what way to do it, he’s gone left, he’s gone right.”

“You may have seen Neilsen Powless change his battery on his derailleur at the Tour de France, but that’s up to him,” Roche’s co-commentator Ant McCrossan added, possibly referring to Powless' fellow American Sepp Kuss's battery change at this year's Giro d'Italia.

“But that is not good news to be doing up your front wheel with an Allen key at this point in a race with the speed of these descents. Never try that at home. I actually can’t believe I've just seen that.”

“Yeah, that’s the first time I’ve seen it,” Roche concluded. “And I hope it’s the last.”

Junior women's podium (Pauline Ballet/SWpix)

(Pauline Ballet/SWpix.com)

Away from dodgy DIY mechanics, France’s Julie Bego won the junior women’s road race, as the festivities on Glasgow’s city streets began this morning.

Bego soloed clear to take a convincing win, beating Great Britain’s Cat Ferguson, who stormed past Belgium’s Fleur Moors in the sprint for silver.

However, Bego’s path to victory certainly wasn’t aided by an ill-timed crossing as she approached the finish line:

The French teenager’s obstacle-strewn finishing straight followed a bizarre sight just before the junior women’s road race began, when a member of the public was chased down by police after he began riding his bike on the circuits moments before the race got underway.

Perhaps he was just trying to join the group and nab a KOM on the way?

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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5 comments

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Jimmy Ray Will | 8 months ago
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For me, this is an inevitable side effect of seemingly more stringent monitoring of the convoy... if people are given the choice of take ludicrous risks or play it safe and subsequently out of the biggest race of their career (to date), they are going to choose the risk every time. 

No one likes the idea of riders taking advantage of the convoy, but personally, safety should come first. 

I experienced a similar thing when laps out were removed from amateur circuit racing in the UK. I was riding alongside a rider who's bike was rattling away and when I asked him, he calmly told me that his front quick release was not tight enough. He didn't want to tighten it as it would mean he'd paid £15 entry and £10 petrol for nothing. Great motivation for me getting up the road to be fair!

Only this weekend, a chap picked up a nail in his tyre and we all had to listen to him persevering, as that nail struck his frame 2-3 times a second for a solid 5 minutes. The reality of the situation thankfully dawned on the chap before his carbon frame failed.

It blows my mind that these rulings get made without anyone thinking about the potential consequences. 

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Peter Aretin | 8 months ago
2 likes

Oh, come on. This is hardly risky compared to the gauntlet of lunatic fans and assortments of road furniture racers are often put through.

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ubercurmudgeon | 8 months ago
3 likes

Looks like a Y-wrench to me. Which is not a million miles away from the wingnuts that cost Tullio Campagnolo a race, leading him to invent the quick release, although he had the opposite problem of being too tight.

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Cugel replied to ubercurmudgeon | 8 months ago
6 likes
ubercurmudgeon wrote:

Looks like a Y-wrench to me. Which is not a million miles away from the wingnuts that cost Tullio Campagnolo a race, leading him to invent the quick release, although he had the opposite problem of being too tight.

Hee hee hee.

Shirly this sort of thing (fixing on the go) coud be evolved into a new kind of racing?

The racers are given a bicycle with various faults and inadequacies installed than sent off to race about a bumpy and twisty town circuit (AKA the city centre crit). As the bicycle faults and inadequacies gradually manifest the cyclist must, unaided, extract the correct tool from a jersey pocket, wee saddlebag or tool bottle - without stopping or dismounting - to perform the toolin' of this or that.

Many will crash in a body-bike tangle but this will please the sponsors and the mass media since it will generate more views, including of the many adverts inducing the viewers to rush out and buy the expnsive gratuitous gew-gaw-gubbin portrayed.

Roadside fans could be given the chance to show thumbs up or down, to either allow or deny a medic or bandages. The fans will feel a brief blast of "empowerment" in their banal lives of slave-to-survive.

In time, another style of racing could be organised, in which cyclists must outpace packs of large wild dogs made hungry and unforgiving of dawdlers. "Lantern rouge" would become half-literal, to the delight of the crowds.

Such sport would also serve as an effective distraction from the doings of Toryspiv elsewhere, fleecing, exploiting and slow-murdering like the barons of olde! I mean - wots "sport" for if not these high purposes?

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Simon E | 8 months ago
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I saw several chain drops during the junior men's race, including the Italian rider in the front group near the end of the race. He eventually caught up with the group but just missed out on a podium position. I think each one was when they were downshifting (to the smaller chainring?) at the bottom of a climb.

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