Flat tire

Team Sky cyclist Richie Porte got a flat tire near the end of stage 10 of the Giro D'Italia, and a fellow Aussie from another team, Simon Clarke, stopped and gave Porte his wheel in a gesture of sportsmanship.

The moment was captured on social media, and when race officials saw the proof of the exchange, they penalized Porte 2 minutes and fined him 200 Swiss Francs for violating a rule forbidding members of one team from helping another (Clarke, not a contender, received the same fine). It's such an obscure rule that Porte and Clarke never thought twice about the exchange in the heat of the moment.

Cycling gets beat up much worse than other sports for enforcing strict drug testing. More cyclists are caught, leading the public to look upon the sport as tainted, but the drug testing rules in most other sports are a joke (e.g. the NBA, NFL, soccer, tennis) compared to cycling, so I'll defend cycling for putting its testing where its mouth is.

However, this is one time they should have forgiven Porte and Clarke. What could have been a great moment for the sport, a gesture of the type of sportsmanship we should encourage, turned into a moment where the letter of the law took precedence over the spirit of the law, and the spirit of sport, which is fair play. Porte already lost time on race leaders by virtue of the unfortunate flat, and what could have been a more exciting Giro lost one of its leading contenders.

For the same reason, race leader Alberto Contador shouldn't be fined for removing his helmet during the race, even as it is against the rules, and even as, to no one's surprise, Twitter users are in an uproar over the subjective application of the rulebook.