I cannot explain how an aircraft is seen flying with the main gear down and the nose retracted, as Ilyushin96M describes, unless it is only a momentary observation.
If the pilots or maintenance did not remove the "gear pins" on the mains, upon an "up" selection, the nose would retract and the mains would remain in place. Caveat - only on some aircraft.
It is important to know that there are many different sets of engineering designs on landing gear retraction/extension installations. Small twins tend to have electric, pneumatic or low pressure hydraulic systems, with some aircraft having a combination of multiple systems. Larger aircraft tend to utilize hydraulic actuators with electromagnetic sensors as feedback. Also on larger aircraft, not only the landing gear but the landing gear doors are involved. Watch a 747 takeoff and see how long it takes for the airplane to become clean - visually you will observe landing gear well doors open, a few seconds later the mains/nose will start to move to the retracted position, and not necessarily exactly symetrically, then the gear doors will close. The process can take as long as 20 - 30 seconds.
What's my point? The aircraft I have flown each had similar but different systems. On one type, mid-cycling of the gear handle could do major damage. On another, no damage. So the answer to Cricri's question, in my opinion, is that more information is required, as there is no simple answer.
As anyone who has read my previous posts will attest!