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Jonas Vingegaard warned about descent of Basque Country horror crash months ago, but organisers “never gave an answer”, claims Safe Cycling; Peta Cavendish joins Adam Hansen in calling out “voyeuristic” filming of crashed riders + more on the live blog

One more sleep for Paris-Roubaix, until then, Adwitiya’s here to bring you all the latest news and chit-chat from the cycling world this Friday
05 April 2024, 08:18
Jonas Vingegaard had warned about the descent of Basque Country horror crash half a year ago, but organisers “never gave an answer”, claims Safe Cycling CEO

After the horror crash at Tour of Basque Country yesterday that stopped many cycling fans in their tracks, and causing a long list of terrible, unfortunate injuries in the peloton, including Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel, Primož Roglič, Jay Vine, Steff Cras and more, reports have kept trickling over the night.

While no one is seriously hurt according to reports from numerous pro teams, the toll of the injuries caused to so many riders was once again laid bare as the heavy price of this beautiful and enjoyable sport.

One of the bits of information to have come out is from Safe Cycling, an organisation based in Norway that specialises in making pro cycling safer with proper signage, while also aiming to become a bridge between riders and race organisers.

Domestique reports that its CEO Markus Laerum said: “The images were horrible, but above all very frustrating as Jonas Vingegaard had warned us already half a year ago about that descent. We reached out to the race organisers to discuss the topic, but never got an answer.”

Meanwhile, Pello Bilbao claimed that although there was a bump in the road, adding to what Euskaltel-Euskadiko rider Mikel Bizkarra had said earlier about riders being in the danger to fly off if they don’t keep their hands tightly on the handlebar.

Bilbao said in a post-race interview: “No one wants the race to be lacklustre, so they want us to go through some flashy routes. But the point where they fell, it looked very bad. I think that we cyclists also have to reflect ourselves that perhaps we re the ones who create the danger… maybe we’ve gone too far. And well, that turn needed to be reviewed, because the asphalt is uneven due to some roots.”

05 April 2024, 10:22
“These are not actors… no scripted happy ending”: Peta Cavendish joins Adam Hansen in calling out “voyeuristic” TV coverage of Itzulia Basque crash

The images that came out of yesterday’s crash were chilling to the bone, but wasn’t showing them live on the broadcast a step too far? At least Ryan and I thought so, and perhaps so did a couple of broadcasters who cut the footage at the time of the crash.

And while updates on injured riders is paramount, for fans yes, but most importantly for the families and loved ones of the cyclists, the lingering camera on Roglič, Cras and Vingegaard as they lay in the concrete gutter wasn’t just horrifying, some might say it felt wrong too.

Adam Hansen, President of the riders’ union CPA, raised this issue on Twitter last evening, writing: “Out of respect of riders that have fallen in a crash and their families at home. The CPA does not support TV coverage to continue to film them while they are down. Riders have reached out to me asking if we can make this a rule and we support that. Please be mindful.”

Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish’s wife Peta also shared her thoughts on social media. She said: “There is a lot of conversation around the lingering camera shots of motionless riders and endless repeats of the crashes.

“I know that some families of riders have shared that they find it helpful as it's the only updates they receive. I hear that. The wait for information seems an eternity. However, I for one would rather not play voyeur to the fragility of a human life. A spectator to a families pain and anguish.

“I don't believe ‘it’s just part of the sport.’ It's something I have said many times before. It is not the same in all sports. It’s not just the distress it can cause as it's watched in real time. But also the weight it can hold in the future.

“Remember, these are not actors. There are no retakes. No scripted happy ending... yet still the cameras roll. Uncertain as to what title time will give the sequence. I have been the wife with children in arms watching, flinching at every repeat.

“I don't no speak for everyone. But… Let's remember, this footage is not for information, for facts or vital sporting updates. It’s for ratings. For clicks, for views.”

Responding to someone who argued that they would have liked close-up footage or commentary “to know that they are alive”, Peta replied: “With the greatest of respect and I truly hope my sentiment doesn’t get lost in written word…It’s not about what you would have liked. It’s about respect for the ‘lifeless rider’ and their family.”

05 April 2024, 16:31
Israel-Premier Tech to race gravel bikes at Paris-Roubaix
2024 Paris Roubaix Israel Premier Tech Factor Ostro Gravel - 1

Pack it up! We're now in the timeline with gravel bikes in Roubaix!

> Israel-Premier Tech to race gravel bikes at Paris-Roubaix

05 April 2024, 16:15
Itzulia Basque claims more victims: Four more riders out, with Mikel Landa suffering a broken collarbone

The crashes just won't stop eh? After a day mired with the horrific crash, Itzulia Basque has claimed more victims in today's stage five, with two riders from Soudal Quick-Step and Movistar each.

With around 94km to go, Mikel Landa, Gil Gelders, Gonzalo Serrano and Pelayo Sanchez were involved in a crash, with all four being forced to withdraw from the race. Landa, however, came off the worst (from what we know so far), violently falling on his left shoulder against the asphalt. It seemed like a repeat of yesterday's horror images once again, with Landa left unable to move and being stretchered off into an ambulance.

Quick-Step has now confirmed that the Spanish cyclist has suffered a fractured collarbone. "He will now undergo further investigation to determine the best path for his recovery," the team concluded.

05 April 2024, 16:11
Sam Welsford's eloquent description of Arenberg and the infamous chicane

Sometimes, you don't need a lot of words to be eloquent, as we can all learn from Aussie Welsford.

What about the chicane right before the Arenberg cobbles, you ask?

05 April 2024, 15:38
Thymen Arensman's father backs TV coverage of crashes

The dialectic nature of the reaction to yesterday's crash seems to be never-ending, and now in contrast to Peta Cavendish and Adam Hansen's remarks of criticising the TV direction for showing images of crashed riders, Ineos Grenadier's Dutch cyclist Thymen Arensman's father Martjin has said that he'd much rather see the riders on broadcast than cut away.

> “If I was not wearing a helmet, I don't know if I would still be here”: Ineos rider Thymen Arensman thanks helmet after brutal crash ruling him out of Vuelta a España

Responding to a fan who had said that showing such dreadful images on broadcast was "disgraceful", Martjin said: "I don’t agree, how disgraceful it seems for you. When my son crashed last year for us it was better and less stressful to see and view the situation than no nothing at all. In Thymen’s case the impact was mild but the view was the same on a stretcher and breathing support."

The fan seemed to take Martjin's response in a constructive way, saying: "Fair enough, you’d certainly know better than me. Thanks for sharing your experience. I remember that crash, was really really horrible"

05 April 2024, 15:15
Incredible photo finish at stage 5 of Itzulia Basque Country!
Itzulia Basque stage 5 finish

Exorcising the ghosts of yesterday, or maybe more like shoving them to the side, racing resumed today in the Basque country, Mattias Skjelmose of Lidl-Trek now riding in the lead after the crash took the top two, Roglič and Evenepoel out.

And the finish was a fiercely contested sprint finish with a photo finish for the ages, leaving commentators (and your live blog host) stumped on who won at the bike throw!

Ultimately, it was Romain Grégoire of Groupama FDJ who won by the merest of margins, beating out Orluis Aular (who me and Carlton Kirby both thought had won instead), and Max Schachmann.

05 April 2024, 14:56
Police called to Scott Sports HQ over “dispute between managers” as corporate power struggle continues
Police presence at Scott Sports HQ (DayFREuro)

The corporate drama at Scott Sports continues, as police were called to the bike and sportswear company’s headquarters this week over a “dispute between managers” – just days after CEO Beat Zaugg refused to accept the company’s decision to dismiss him, sparking a bizarre power struggle within the higher echelons of the Swiss-based brand.

> Police called to Scott Sports HQ over “dispute between managers” as corporate power struggle continues

05 April 2024, 14:49
Evenepoel's speed entering yesterday's turn: 78.2km/h
05 April 2024, 14:05
Nicholas Roche at 2020 Tour de France (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
“Crashes have been part of the sport, but this is way out of hand”: Former Irish pro Nicholas Roche weighs on the horror Basque Country crash, joins Calmejane in pointing out “crazy doses of caffeine”

While we’re grateful that most riders came out without any major life-threatening injuries, could the Itzulia Basque crash open the floodgates for more safety measures and clamping down on fuelling agents such as caffeine gels?

Because former Irish road champion and Vuelta stage winner Nicholas Roche has become the second person to target caffeine as one of the contributing factors for yesterday’s crash, after Lilian Calmejane.

Roche, who himself was involved in a pretty horrific crash in the 2019 Vuelta a España while wearing the leader’s jersey, said that he “never really recovered from this crash”. He retired from the road cycling two years later, and had a fairly successful spell on gravel, while also leading Trinity Racing as its DS in 2022.

But he said that these past years of his career had been “shaped” by the crash and “he’s still living with the consequences”.

In an Instagram post, he wrote: “I remember my first years as a pro cyclist, I was thought to drop back 2k from the summit to get bottles that i would then work my way down and give on the descent to my teammates.

“Descending was made to recover. Refuel. Cycling has changed and already since a long time, evolution is also normal.

“It’s 3 years since I follow cycling from a different angle. I am not sure if in the bunch it didn’t look so bad although i admit been more scared in my last years.

“But I have come to fear for my friends racing. The speed is higher, the general level is higher, the battle for aero has also become on the edge of dangerous, the braking power is greater (meaning less reaction time behind to brake), riders ride closer, teams make the most of danger zones to put pressure, road furnitures are built to make vehicles go slower when cyclist are going faster… the stakes for victory are so high that riders are ready to risk it all. Crazy doses of caffeine(most gel contain caffeine).

“I feel for many years riders were blaming organisers, but was most time a rider fault. But organizers are also looking for more spectacular routes!

“I don’t believe there is one single reason to blame for causing all of these crashes. But every one and every thing plays a part.

“Crashes have been part of the sport, they created the drama but this is way out of hand. Its not normal that riders should risk there life if they hope to perform Hopefully the sport can work all together to provide a safer job.”

05 April 2024, 12:28
Lilian Calmejane has a few words to say…

Intermarché-Wanty’s Lilian Calmejane shared a few thoughts about yesterday’s crash on his Twitter, writing: “Everyone is looking for explanations for the numerous crashes. This might be a good time for our ‘oils’ to get things moving! The 36 handlebars, the radio, no sanctions (financial/suspension) for bad behaviours by a rider and of course the famous ‘final bottle’ that 80% take..”

Famous bottle here, referring to the caffeine gels cyclists gobble before getting on the bikes presumably (and maybe concocted with a few doses of crushed painkillers, the infamous, now-banned tramadol comes to mind). So much discussion going around with the crash, so many fingers being pointed and so many ideas floating around. What is your take on all this?

> Tour de France hit by tack attack, Lilian Calmejane calls out "morons" who endangered riders

He also shared his thoughts on rim vs disc brakes. A Twitter user commented: “Are disc breaks resulting in faster speeds, later breaking and greater risk taking knowing they can push the limits further? From disc breaks to aero bikes and clothing, I wonder if record average speeds are coming from speed going downhill as much as anywhere else?”

To which, Calmejane replied: “One hand you are true but in the other hand if you come back on rim brakes, was insane how dangerous that was with wet roads!”

05 April 2024, 12:09
Bravo! Cyclists block car traffic until drivers removed cars from the bike lane

Showing how it's done! This little clip is from Valencia Street in San Fransisco, with group Safe Streets Rebel taking it to the streets to protest people using the bike lane as a loading bay. "'While cars were loading in the bike lane, we paused car traffic to create a safe route for bikes," they wrote.

05 April 2024, 11:06
“Speeding” cyclists equally to blame for serious collision on bike path, judge rules
National Cycle Route 7 (licensed CC BY 2.0 on Flickr by Shirokazan)

Two cyclists who were involved in a serious collision on a National Cycle Route, which left one of the riders requiring resuscitation after his heart stopped, have been found equally to blame for the crash by a judge, who said the cyclists were “travelling at twice the safe speed” and were oblivious to each other’s presence when the “inevitable” crash took place.

> “Speeding” cyclists equally to blame for serious collision on bike path, judge rules

05 April 2024, 10:52
I really hope nothing goes wrong here... Another look at the Arenberg chicane for Paris-Roubaix

While I know that any cyclist would take crashing on tarmac instead of the sharp, dangerous cobbles of Paris-Roubaix (as Matteo Jorgensen also pointed out yesterday), but with the Basque Country crash still burned into my memory, I can't help but ignore the bad feeling I have about this new layout... Both fingers crossed and praying that I'm proven wrong.

But anyway, here's another look at the not-at-all F1-style chicane the riders will have to navigate before entering the Forest of Arenberg on Sunday.

05 April 2024, 09:38
The post I never wanted to make, but here's the list of injuries from yesterday's crash at Itzulia Basque

Days like these are what you dread as a cycling journalist, but at least what I'm glad about it is that there were no serious, life-threatening injuries (although there very well could have been, with riders going down into a concrete gutter at the bend), and all the teams with have released updates about the riders' injuries. So as it stands:

  • Initial reports said that Team Visma Lease a Bike's Jonas Vingegaard suffered a broken collarbone and several broken ribs. The team has released another update this morning saying that the Dane also suffered a pulmonary contusion and pneumothorax (or a collapsed lung), but is "stable" and "had a good night" at the hospital.
  • Soudal Quick-Step's Remco Evenepoel suffered a broken collarbone and a fracture to his right scapula. The team said he will travel to Belgium today, where he will undergo an operation on his collarbone, and further examination, at the hospital in Herentals.
  • TotalEnergies' Steff Cras suffered a collapsed right lung, several associated rib fractures and two dorsal vertebral fractures, in addition to several hematomas, wounds and dermabrasions. The team informed that he'll stay in hospital for a few days.
  • UAE Team Emirates' doctor said that Jay Vine suffered a heavy crash today during the race and sustained a cervical and two thoracic spine vertebral body fractures, but thankfully no other major injuries or head trauma. Vine is expected to stay in the hospital for neurological observation, with spinal orthopaedic assessment to take place soon."
  • Meidcal examinations showed that Bora-Hansgrohe's Primož Roglič did not sustain any fractures, but bruises and abrasions.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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15 comments

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Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

The worst thing by far I've ever seen in cycling coverage was when poor Wouter Weylandt was killed in the Giro in 2011; the camera zoomed in on him as he lay on the road and for a moment he looked just stunned, then blood started welling out from under his helmet and in that instant one knew he was dead. I'd definitely support cameras/directors instantly cutting away from crashes rather than ever see that again, it was the stuff of nightmares.

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ktache replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
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We watched the MotoGP when Simoncelli crashed, foolishly watched the crash in slow mo on the sky box, wish we hadn't.

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NOtotheEU replied to ktache | 2 months ago
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Did you see Jeremy McWilliams MotoGP crash back in the late 90s when another rider moved over and hit his front brake lever while going flat out down the straight and he went over the bars? If i remember correctly he slid the rest of the way down the straight but amazingly got up and walked away.

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Velophaart_95 | 2 months ago
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Once again cycling lagging behind other sports, particularly motorsport which tends to move coverage away, and not show endless replays until the condition of drivers is known.

Saying that, I recall a journalist saying that the latin media have no issues showing grizzly scenes......Which explains why Spanish owned (until recently) MotoGP/WSBK will often show endless replays of accidents, despite protestations from many in the media.

And remembering the crash of Ayrton Senna at Imola in May 1994; the Italian broadcaster hovered over him whilst he received treatment - fortunately, the BBC decided to cut away as they had their own team there.

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cmedred | 2 months ago
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Given Peta's own observation "that some families of riders have shared that they find it helpful as it's the only updates they receive" is there any logical solution to coverage of crashes other than that people who don't want to watch turn it off? Or is there some way to provide a private video feed so only friends and family can see how bad (or hopefully not) the injuries after a crash?

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Rendel Harris replied to cmedred | 2 months ago
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cmedred wrote:

Given Peta's own observation "that some families of riders have shared that they find it helpful as it's the only updates they receive" is there any logical solution to coverage of crashes other than that people who don't want to watch turn it off? Or is there some way to provide a private video feed so only friends and family can see how bad (or hopefully not) the injuries after a crash?

Why not just every rider has an emergency contact number and the DS/soigneur/mechanic/commisaire makes a call to give them news if they go down? Obviously they have other jobs to do but in a WT race there are enough staff around to make that doable.

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dubwise | 2 months ago
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Sadly,the coverage of injured riders is nothing new.

It has been part of the tv coverage for years, so don't quite understand the uproar regarding yesterday's crash.  Unless, only those at the top of the sport matter in these incidents but those at the back aren't worthy of the same outcry.

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mattw | 2 months ago
1 like

Well worth a read and a listeb:

https://canvas-story.bbcrewind.co.uk/chasingspeed/

Chasing Speed

Jamie Morris' younger brother Sammy was killed in a car crash with his friend Lewis, who was driving at speeds that have been described as insane.

This is Jamie's story.

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
2 likes

"You should talk to drivers about their behaviour instead of reporting them"

https://www.phtm.co.uk/news/6604/phtm-news/speeding-gloucester-cabbie-ki...

 

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
1 like

Judge Lowe said he would get 'significant' credit and a shorter sentence for pleading guilty rather than having a trial

Oh dear! I feel something bad is about to happen

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redimp | 2 months ago
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Still no rerun or highlights of stage 4 on Discovery. I missed yesterday's action  and still have no idea who won the stage

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don simon fbpe replied to redimp | 2 months ago
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No one won the stage as there was no contest after the accident.

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lesterama replied to redimp | 2 months ago
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Meintjes won after they let the break contest the final kilometres. I think Discovery made the right decision to pull the episode, given the distateful camera coverage

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Moist von Lipwig replied to lesterama | 2 months ago
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I saw Eurosport had a 7 minutes highlights package on You tube. Coverage was only of the last 3km (ish) and only made verbal reference to the fact there had been a crash because of the neutralised stage.

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Rendel Harris replied to lesterama | 2 months ago
0 likes

lesterama wrote:

Meintjes won after they let the break contest the final kilometres. I think Discovery made the right decision to pull the episode, given the distateful camera coverage

I agree, but today they started the coverage with "here's what happened yesterday" showing some fairly graphic footage of the crash and the aftermath. I guess they thought it was OK because by that time knew that nobody was killed or atrociously injured, but it still felt pretty voyeuristic and unnecessary.

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