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Josh Tarling disqualified from Paris-Roubaix for taking tow from team car (+ video)

Ineos Grenadiers rider’s ‘sticky bottle’ moment was caught by TV cameras, as Mathieu van der Poel takes second straight Roubaix win, in fastest ever edition of the Hell of the North

Ineos Grenadiers rider Josh Tarling wasdisqualified from this afternoon’s edition of Paris-Roubaix for taking a tow from a team car as he made his way back to the peloton following a mechanical issue.

The 20-year-old British rider, who was widely tipped to secure a high placing in the 259.7 kilometre race, was clearly upset after the decision of the commissaires was relayed to him with around 130km to go, waving his arms in the air in frustration.

However, the race jury had little option but to disqualify Tarling, with his extended ‘sticky bottle’ moment caught by the TV cameras, aerial footage showing him holding onto the car as he tried to rejoin the select 30-strong main group of favourites following a puncture.

> “Is this a joke?” Mathieu van der Poel slams Paris-Roubaix hairpin ‘chicane’ at Arenberg Forest entrance as peloton divided

Speaking at the finish, a reticent Ineos Grenadiers DS Ian Stannard said: “It was a decision that was made on the road and it’s done. There we are.

“It’s just a racing circumstance. He’s had a bike change and that’s it. You’re not getting any more from me.”

Tarling, riding a massive 62 tooth chainring, was midway through his second Paris-Roubaix when he was unceremoniously expelled from the race, after battling to finish third from last and outside the time limit during his debut at the Queen of the Classics last year.

Around the same time Tarling was being expelled from the elite men’s version of the Hell of the North, his 17-year-old younger brother Finlay – a fellow time trialling prospect – was battling to the finish of the Junior Paris-Roubaix.

On what was his road debut for Team GB, Tarling Jnr’s prospects, however, weren’t aided by an early crash, which ripped a large portion of the back of his skinsuit and resulted in all his gels for the race being dumped on the road:

Finlay Tarling, 2024 Paris-Roubaix Juniors (Ryan Mallon)

Ouch...

Nevertheless, the youngster battled on at his debut outing on the rough cobbles of northern France, ultimately finishing 48th, just over eight minutes down on Slovenian winner Jakob Ormzel, as Tarling’s British teammate Sebastian Grindley finished in the Roubaix in 11th, one place ahead of Northern Irish rider Seth Dunwoody.

“Well some days are just shit,” the Tarling brother’s dad Michael tweeted today.

“Fin crashed early, ripped the back of his skinsuit and lost all gels. Super proud for finishing coming home around 50th I think.

“Josh a nightmare with crashes, punctures and a DQ. Not going to comment as haven’t seen it but I love/hate this race.”

For world champion Mathieu van der Poel’s relationship with the Queen of the Classics, however, is very much a loving one, the rampant Dutchman attacking solo with 60km to go to secure his second straight Roubaix win, in what was the fastest ever edition of the Hell of the North.

Van der Poel’s latest jaw dropping ride, capped off by Alpecin – Deceuninck teammate Jasper Philipsen winning the sprint (way) behind for second – makes him only the sixth man in history to win Roubaix in the rainbow jersey (though notably the second rider, full stop, to achieve that feat this weekend, after Lotte Kopecky’s dramatic late surge to beat Elisa Balsamo and Pfeiffer Georgi on Saturday).

He’s also the first rider since Fabian Cancellara in 2013 to win the Tour of Flanders and Roubaix in the same season, while his Alpecin team now hold the distinction of having won every monument so far this season, after Philipsen’s Milan-Sanremo triumph.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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9 comments

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mikewood | 1 month ago
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Only briefly captured on camera as per the video shown!

There was a Uno-X rider sitting behind his team car for some time though. Long enough to see him in 2 separate clips, some time apart.....

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Rendel Harris replied to mikewood | 1 month ago
1 like
mikewood wrote:

Only briefly captured on camera as per the video shown!

There was a Uno-X rider sitting behind his team car for some time though. Long enough to see him in 2 separate clips, some time apart.....

Drafting back from a crash or mechanical is frequently "blind eyed", especially on the narrow roads of Paris-Roubaix where it can quite legitimately be claimed it would be dangerous or even impossible to overtake a team car and there's nowhere for the car to get out of the way; Tarling held onto the car whilst it accelerated him to the 50 km/h+ of the other riders. The two are in no way comparable: one is, at worst, pushing the envelope of the rules, the other is blatant cheating.

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SecretSam replied to mikewood | 1 month ago
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Drafting back after a crash or mechanical is generally allowed, has been as long as I've been watching cycling.

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Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
2 likes

Bang to rights I'm afraid, a painful way to learn the lesson but as they said on comms he'll be back plenty of times. Surprised older and wiser, or at least more experienced, heads in the team car didn't warn him to pack it in before he got in trouble.

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don simon fbpe | 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm watching on catch up, but I guess his crime is being caught on camera, not a good look for the British rider.

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Sredlums replied to don simon fbpe | 1 month ago
4 likes

Nonsense. His 'crime' is holding on to the bottle/car far too long, his bad luck was that it was captured.

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don simon fbpe replied to Sredlums | 1 month ago
1 like

Whatever his crime, not a good look for the Brit.

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john_smith replied to don simon fbpe | 1 month ago
0 likes

Esp. given the team he rides for.

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SecretSam replied to don simon fbpe | 1 month ago
1 like

his crime is cheating

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