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'Sticky bottle' rider gets sarcastic "chapeau" from rival who he accelerated away from

Mathieu Burgaudeau was caught on camera getting a helping hand to break away from Ådne Holter at the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var, and was fined for the incident

The 2023 pro cycling season truly got underway during the second stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var yesterday, with the first high profile 'sticky bottle' incident of the year caught on camera. Mathieu Burgaudeau and Team TotalEnergies have been heavily criticised for the move that allowed Burgaudeau to accelerate away from Ådne Holter by getting a shove from his team car, and the punishment has also been slammed by some as too lenient.  

In a contrasting variation on the sticky bottle genre compared to most of the examples we've covered in the past, Burgaudeau appears to get some serious acceleration from the car as he grabs his bottle in order to break away from Holter, described as a "hand sling" by the Eurosport/GCN commentator.

The Norwegian briefly gets out of the saddle in an attempt to stay with Burgaudeau, but this is no match for the Frenchman's fraudulent boost as he leaves Holter in the dust.

 After the race, Holter posted the clip to Twitter and congratulated Team TotalEnergies with a "chapeau", also adding the hashtag #GreatMove. We detect a hint of sarcasm there... 

The term 'sticky bottle' was coined to describe the advantage a rider can gain by holding on for a bit longer than is needed when being handed a fresh bottle from their team car. The majority of other infamous examples we've seen before, such as Romain Bardet's stickiest of sticky bottles that got him kicked out of Paris-Nice in 2017, are executed to help riders catch back on to a group or give the legs a momentary break, rather than being used as a springboard to break away from rivals. 

"If that's the punishment everyone should be risking it"

Holter's Uno X team CEO Jens Haughland took to social media to denounce the move by Team TotalEnergies, saying: "Come on. Just race as professionals."

He also shared details of the fine handed out to Burgaudeau and his team: 200 CHF (Swiss Francs) for Team TotalEnergies' Directeur Sportif, and 100 CHF for Burgaudeau himself. This punishment has attracted fierce criticism, with some suggesting it is so lenient that teams and riders won't be put off from using team cars to gain an advantage in the future.  

> Comedy sticky bottle crash sends Ironman Sub 7 pace setter tumbling

It could certainly be said that Burgaudeau and Team TotalEnergies got off lightly and took advantage with the move, as he finished 32 places and almost eight minutes clear of Holter, helping his teammate Anthony Turgis to finish in fourth place on the second stage of the category 2.1 race.

The final stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var is taking place today, a 131km ride from Villefranche-Sur-Mer to Vence, with Kévin Vauquelin of Arkéa–Samsic currently leading the overall standings by 7 secs over Neilson Powless of EF Education–EasyPost. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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Daclu Trelub | 1 year ago

What a load of cobblers.

As soon as he dropped contact with the car he apparently accelerated away from the following rider.

Must've been some rocket fuel he drank.

In other words, the so-called input from the car is not evident.

Dhill | 1 year ago

Heck of a push if Burgaudeau put 8 minutes on Holter.

Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago

Hmm, that was more of a push off than a proper sticky bottle. 

The following rider does not look to make any effort at all to match the effort ahead, which does rather exaggerate the impact of the following car. 

mrml | 1 year ago

I am not clear on what the race situation was, but why did he want to drop Holter at that point? Would he not have had a greater advantage if he had worked with him?

Rendel Harris replied to mrml | 1 year ago
1 like
mrml wrote:

I am not clear on what the race situation was, but why did he want to drop Holter at that point? Would he not have had a greater advantage if he had worked with him?

I'm not sure either, reading the French papers they were 38 km from the finish with the yellow jersey group 40 seconds behind so he can't have been thinking that he was going to solo all the way to the line (although he did make it to within 7 km); can only assume that he fancied the KOM points (that were later deducted) or was told by his DS to up the pace to prevent the lead group catching up and launching further breakaways.

Jack Sexty replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Yep he was going for points, on the results he was still showing as most combative rider on the day when I signed off but think it eventually got chalked off! 

Welsh boy | 1 year ago

I am amazed that the sport can still accept this blatant form of cheating. The sport is so hypocritical, cheating with drugs is frowned upon but being towed by a motor vehicle is considered to be acceptable and sporting. The sport needs to sort itself out quickly. So what if someone wears socks which come 1 cm further up their leg than they should, goodness me, we can't let them gain an advantage from something like that but letting them have a tow from a team car is something that the governing body can turn a blind eye to. Suspend the rider, the driver and anyone else involved. The behaviour of these riders sets the baseline for the next generation, where do they go next?

ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

No shame. Utterly disgusting.

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