The safety of riders at major bike races is in the spotlight again this evening after Australia’s Mat Hayman said that he was left with no option but to crash into the barriers at today’s road world championship.
The 39-year-old – likely to be riding the event for the final time – said after abandoning that cars had come to a sudden halt in front of him as he tried to rejoin the main group.
"I’m not sure if I actually hit the car. I came pretty close. I was coming back from a stop and I have the feeling that a lot of the guys here in the convoy don’t drive the rest of the year at races,” he told Cycling News.
"A whole bunch of cars just stopped and no-one seemed to want to give the riders the right of way. Maybe I expected too much from the convoy.
“Normally the guys I’d race with, the drivers you’re with, in these races, they know when a rider is coming back and they give way.
"All the cars were stopped in the second corner before the descent, before going into the tunnel. They seemed to all misjudge it. They stopped quickly and that pushed me on to the wrong side of the road."
Hayman, who had been riding for Michael Matthews who finished third behind Slovakia’s Peter Sagan and Alexander Kristoff of Norway, was not badly hurt in the incident but was checked over by medical staff afterwards.
Earlier this week, however, the Finnish rider Joni Kanevra sustained injuries including a broken collarbone when a team car swerved into his path during the men’s under-23 road race.
Hayman added: "That’s possibly my last world championships and not the way I wanted to end it.”
He later said on Twitter: “Be nice if the car drivers in the men's pro road race were professional as well.
“To be clear I was not hit, but I was left with little option but to hit the barriers.”
Earlier this week, the UCI announced a reduction of the size of the peloton in major races including the Tour de France from next year on safety grounds.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.