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“I’m on the bike!” – Luca Paolini snapped with mobile phone in hand during Tour de France

Katusha rider says he’d left it in his pocket and was only switching it off

Riders on the Tour de France have been reminded that they are not allowed to use mobile phones on the race – after Katusha’s Luca Paolini was snapped on Saturday’s Stage 8 with one in his hand.

Photographer Graham Watson spotted the device in the Italian’s hand as he passed him on his photo moto, and tweeted this picture.

Paolini took to Twitter after the stage to explain he wasn’t writing a text message or email but had forgotten he had the phone in his pocket and had taken it out to switch it off before passing it to the team car.

He also apologised for breaking the rules and apologised to the race jury for letting him off with a warning – although he was back in their sights yesterday as they fined him 50 Swiss Francs for an infraction according to the official race communication from Stage 9.

Race organisers ASO issued a reminder to all teams that "the use of mobile phones by riders during the race is not allowed under article 9 of the race rules and article 2.2.024 of the UCI’s regulations".

Simon joined 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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