If you follow professional cycling, you may be familiar with the phrase 'sticky bottle', in which a rider taking a fresh water bottle from a team vehicle might choose to hold onto it for a little bit longer than necessary to gain extra momentum from the car (there's even a whole Irish cycling website named after the trick). In the case of Burgos BH's Daniel Navarro the definition may have to be widened, as the Spaniard was caught being towed uphill from his saddle on the final stage of the Vuelta a Asturias yesterday.
@vueltasturias @UCI_cycling que os parece que el corredor Dani Navarro del @BurgosBH suba hoy remolcado la cota a 2 de meta para acabar en la 21ª posicion? Imagino que se le podrá sancionar o descalificar por esto pic.twitter.com/caw15Sm4Dk
— Zuhaitz Elejalde (@zuhaitze) May 1, 2022
— Kenny Pryde (@Kenny_Pryde) May 1, 2022
The clip, that has now been shared thousands of times on social media, shows a staff member poking out of the Burgos BH team car and holding Navarro's saddle. The camera then stays with a Team Euskaltel-Euskadi rider battling the gradient out of the saddle, as the 38-year-old and his team car illegally zoom off into the distance.
To our knowledge the move has gone unpunished, with official results still showing that Navarro finished in... 21st place on the third and final stage of the race, and 12th overall. At least it didn't affect the business end of the race, then, with Britain's Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange–Jayco) bagging the final stage victory after also winning Stage 1, and Movistar's Iván Sosa clinching the overall win.
While one of the most blatant to be caught on camera and go unpunished, Navarro's assisted uphill spin certainly wasn't the first sticky bottle/sticky something incident in the pro peloton, and usually there are consequences. Back in 2017, Romain Bardet was kicked out of Paris-Nice and forced to apologise after being caught taking his time receiving a bottle from an AG2R-La Mondiale team car. Bardet had crashed with 22km to go and was trying to get back to the lead pack, saying that "nothing justifies" what he did.
Two years earlier Vincenzo Nibali starred in arguably one of the most notorious examples of the genre in recent times, as he was thrown off the Vuelta a Espana for holding onto an Astana team car as it, and Nibali, accelerated away from the chasing pack. Unfortunately for the Italian the footage was beamed around the world, and his Vuelta ended on Stage 2 in disgrace...
Arriving at road.cc 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 road.cc 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.