“A Marshall came up and showed me a blue card. I was perplexed as to what I had done.” Britain’s Joe Skipper risked disqualification during yesterday’s Ironman 70.3 Texas by ignoring a five-minute penalty for drafting and waiting until after the finish to appeal. And that’s exactly what happened, but at least Skipper got to test himself against the strong field. He explained the situation on Instagram.
“After around 42-43 km (of biking, ed.) I was in a group of three with Lionel (Sanders, ed.) up front and then the guy behind him let the gap get a bit bigger. I wasn’t sure if he was getting dropped, and I didn’t want the gap to get too big, so I overtook him and slotted in behind Lionel.” Something the Marshall considered an illegal pass. “Around 3 km later a Marshall came up and showed me a blue card. I was perplexed as to what I had done. I asked him and he said ‘cutting in.’ Apparently, I overtook him and cut in too early.”
That is something Skipper didn’t think would be a violation. “It was my understanding once you overtake a rider, it’s down to them to drop back,” he says. The Marshall told Skipper he would have to serve a five-minute penalty before T2. “At this point I made the decision I was going to carry on and would be DQd. I didn’t want to stop as I wanted to test myself against the top guys and stopping for five minutes wasn’t going to show me anything.”
After the finish he wanted to appeal against his penalty, but according to Skipper the reason for his penalty was then changed. “After the race the Marshall changed apparently what it was for and said it was for slotting into a gap of less than 12 meters, which I believe to be untrue as the only reason I overtook was because I thought the gap was getting too big, and I didn’t want to let Lionel ride off.”
The disqualification was, of course, a disappointment, but at least Skipper is happy with his current fitness. “I had a decent swim, coming out only 1:30 minute behind the first person out of the water, so right in the mix. I then managed to ride my way to the front of the race where a group of five formed and then with 5-6 km to go on the bike, we were joined by Sam Long who led us into T2. I felt pretty comfortable on the bike and was actually thinking I could be in the mix for the win on the run. However, despite being in good run form I wasn’t able to get the best out of myself today on the run, and had to settle for watching the podium guys Lionel Sanders, Ben Kanute and Sam Long run off up the road.”
Skipper will soon have a chance to up his game again, because next weekend (Apr. 18) he will toe the line of Ironman 70.3 Florida.