Little more than a year after Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas was forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia due to injuries he sustained after crashing into a motorbike at the roadside, a similar incident has been caught on film at a race in France although thankfully none of the riders brought down was seriously hurt.
The incident happened yesterday at the UCI 2.1 Boucles de la Mayenne race in the Pays de la Loire region when a motorbike belonging to the race organisation – the specific role the rider was performing is unclear – was parked on the left-hand side of the road as the riders approached in single file.
— McEEV (@GosuSM) June 3, 2018
Former world cyclo-cross champion Mathieu van der Poel of Corendon Circus – in the race leader’s yellow jersey which he retained to seal the overall win – managed to avoid the motorbike, but others behind him weren’t so lucky.
German 20-year-old Max Kanter of Team Sunweb’s development squad crashed, as did AG2R-La Mondiale’s Julien Duval and Vital Concept rider Tanguy Turgis although fortunately none was seriously injured.
We’ve reported on several incidents over the years in which race motorbikes have been involved in crashes, prompting calls for increased focus on rider safety.
The two most serious involved young Belgian professional cyclists.
In March 2016, Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider Antone Demoitié, aged 25, died from injuries sustained when he was run over by a motorbike after he crashed at Gent-Wevelgem.
The previous month, Lotto-Soudal rider Stig Broeckx, also aged 25 at the time, was knocked off his bike when a moto rider hit him from behind in another one-day race in Belgium, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
He escaped without serious injury on that occasion, but spent six months in a coma after another crash involving motorbikes during a race, this time at the Tour of Belgium in June of the same year.
Two motorbikes were involved in that incident, in which 19 riders crashed with five taken to hospital.
Initially it was feared that the brain damage he sustained would lead to him being in a permanent vegetative state, but by the end of the year he had emerged from the coma and was starting to respond to stimuli.
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.