Riders had to avoid barriers blown over by a helicopter at the Tour of Croatia (UCI 2.1). The incident took place in the last few hundred metres of today’s stage from Crikvenica to Ucka which was won by Riccardo Zoidl (Trek-Segafredo).
Today’s incident follows on from a series of near-misses and accidents involving support vehicles at races over the past few seasons.
The downdraft from the helicopter blew the barriers over in the closing metres, but luckily enough, nobody was hurt. Matija Kvasina (Baku Cycling Project) and Victor De La Parte (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) who finished in 2nd and 3rd places respectively can be seen negotiating their way around the barriers.
Today’s incident is not the first occurrence of low-flying helicopters at a bike race.
In the 1984 Giro d’Italia, it was claimed that low flying helicopters had affected the outcome of the race, whereby a TV helicopter flew low in front of Laurent Fignon during the final time-trial therefore slowing him down.
Meanwhile, another helicopter flew behind home favourite Francesco Moser creating a favourable draft for the Italian. Moser went on to win the Giro.