South Africa’s Bradley Weiss came all the way out to Europe for some big races, with a highlight being the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt. However, Weiss didn’t end up enjoying much of the race, as he was disqualified for unintentional littering 45K into the bike ride. On Instagram, he shared his story and questions the system.
“I was in the main group and felt pretty comfortable, I was just settling in”, Weiss takes us back. “We went through an Aid Station and I grabbed a water bottle. There were a lot of athletes, and it was quite difficult to keep drafting zones fair and legal. Everybody did their best, but these races are becoming super stacked and everyone is on an even playing field, so it’s making it quite tricky… I only managed to get a water bottle at the end of the Aid Station. I was refiling my hydration bottle on the bike, and also trying to rinse myself off a bit, and didn’t see how quickly the littering zone ended. I discarded the bottle – thinking we were still in the littering zone – and very quickly the head referee that was with us, came up to me and showed me a red card.”
“It came as a big shock and I tried to protest it as much as I could, but unfortunately, he wasn’t having any of it”, Weiss explains. “It was a tough one to accept. Ultimately, it was my fault, but the littering zone could have been much longer – it was very short and that doesn’t give athletes much time to make use of the hydration that’s on offer and to discard a bottle. But it was my fault, and it’s something that I’ll have to accept.”
Weiss feels like there should be a solution for this issue, though. “I’ll be in touch with Ironman to come up with a slightly better system for the professionals. I think there could have been a bit of leniency in this case.” On Instagram, one of Weiss’ followers mentioned the fact that pro cyclist pay a fine at UCI events for littering, which could be a solution in triathlon too. However, the question would then be if that would scare athletes enough not to litter.