25 August 2016
Woops! There it was, a metal pole. Unsecured. No straw block or a man with a whistle nearby. And so it went wrong. Steven Kruijswijk and Jan Bakelants crashed into this metal pole. Of course, we can blame the organisation of the Vuelta for this. It is their fault. And I know that you will blame them too. Just to get this ‘problem’ of your plate again. At least the Vuelta apologized to the rider and the team. Not that it helped much. The damage is already done. Steven Kruijswijk is out of the Vuelta. Luckily, Jan Bakelants is okay after his crash. Even luckier that only these two riders have crashed into this pole.
Last year in the Basque Tour some riders also crashed into a metal pole. One of them was Peter Stetina and he said yesterday that it was upsetting that this happened again. He thought that his crash last year initiated change. Because you stated that you would investigate the incident. Also, the riders’ association (CPA Cycling) tried to convince you to adopt new standards for races. Those new standards included more explicit regulations for the final kilometres and multiple inspections of the course before the riders arrive. CPA Cycling made a statement on Twitter again yesterday: “We ask for New Rules in the final 3 km of race courses, We ask @UCI_cycling to put in place our Security Plan asap!”
Investigate is one thing, but sometimes it is not enough. How much more ‘accidents’ need to happen before you will get up, get out of your office and actually do something? It is ‘only’ a collarbone fracture this time. All the riders don’t even want to think about what else could have happened. Some of them are angry with you, and I cannot blame them: “Hey @UCI_cycling how about you stop banning oversocks and do something??”, is what Geraint Thomas said on Twitter yesterday.
Dear UCI, it is time for some changes. The investigations are over, it is time to act. Do you realize that the riders are out there on the roads, risking their life every race, every day? But they take that risk. They know it is a part of their job. It is your job to do anything that is in your power to lower the risks of accidents to the most minimal level that is possible. Do not wait any longer, make it happen. Do it for ‘your’ riders.