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.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.