After two recent incidents at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of the Basque Country, the UCI have released a statement on safety at races.
Firstly, at the Tour of the Basque Country, numerous riders came down due to a crash in the final kilometre of one of the stages. It emerged that bollards had not been removed from the road, and instead had been covered with orange markers. A number of cyclists were subsequently hospitalised with injuries.
At Paris-Roubaix at the weekend, a potentially more serious incident occurred when many of the cyclists in the peloton crossed a level-crossing as the barriers were coming down.
The UCI statement follows on from news that French railway company SNCF had filed a complaint with the police. SNCF released a statement on Monday about the incident.
“Several riders deliberately crossed a level crossing, which is against all safety regulations,” the statement said. “Millions of TV viewers were able to watch this unauthorised crossing which was extremely serious and irresponsible, that could have ended in tragedy. SNCF has decided to lodge a legal complaint and will leave it up to the investigation to determine who was responsible and we regret that such foolhardiness took place.”
The statement from the UCI is below:
Following two extremely worrying incidents that occurred over the past week during the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and Paris-Roubaix, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) would like to reiterate that safety should at all times be the number one priority of all those involved in a cycling race.
The UCI is taking both incidents very seriously and has requested that a comprehensive report on each of them be submitted as soon as possible for review and potential action. It is everyone’s duty to make sure that our beautiful sport of cycling is not tarnished by incidents that appear to have been avoidable.