Updated: Two incidents involving Shimano neutral service vehicles during 2015 Tour of Flanders; Shimano issues apology

Jesse Sergent (Trek Factory Racing) was hit by a Shimano neutral service car during the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, sustaining a suspected broken collarbone.

The New Zealander was in the lead escape group when the blue estate hit him from the left-hand-side, knocking him down. Sergent’s escape companions then had to haul on their brakes to avoid riding into him.

>>> Alexander Kristoff wins 2015 Tour of Flanders

The car appeared to be moving up the left of the escape group, and was wedged between the riders and the kerb. It is unclear as to why it was alongside the escape group.

Later in the race, a Shimano neutral service vehicle was involved in a second incident when it rear-ended an FDJ team car that was pulling up to assist French rider Sebastien Chavanel. Chavanel was knocked to the ground, and withdrew from the race.

With clear skies and perfect weather conditions, there was little excuse for the pair of unnecessary incidents, and it is likely that there will be a review of team vehicle positioning within races as a result.

Shimano later issued a statement apologising for the incidents, and saying that it is going launch an investigation:

“At Shimano we apologise for both incidents the Shimano sponsored neutral caused today at the Tour of Flanders.

“We especially apologise to the riders and teams involved, Jesse Sergent of Trek Factory Racing and Sébastien Chavanel of Française des Jeux. We wish them a speedy recovery.

“The drivers of the neutral cars are professionals with many years of experience in professional cycling races. We will investigate both incidents deeply and take appropriate action.”

  • David Bassett

    So you think that “former Lotto and CSC rider Paul Van Hyfte
    who was the driver who crashed into the back of the FDJ car at the Tour of Flanders, and a policeman who caused Jesse Sergent to crash” “don’t have the experience or lack the common sense” to work on a bike race then we will just
    have to stop having bike races. Somehow reading what you have said you have some experience working in bike races, but I do doubt that you have the experience that a former protour rider or a serving police officer has. It is a shame that
    most (not yours) comments re bike races come from people that might have ridden a few sportive events and then think they know it all. If you look carefully you will see that Jesse Sergent hit the Shimano car, not the other way round,
    and if Paul Van Hyfte who hit the FDJ car had swung out would have hit one of the Moto Marshals. It is easy to sit
    and watch the T.V. and criticise, if you read Sean Yates book (great read by the way) you will see even someone like him even crashed cars in races. I could go on but shan’t.

  • Kōkaku Kidōtai

    would the driver have moved where he was told if there was a brick wall in the way? no. problem is no matter how ‘professional’ these drivers are if they don’t have the experience or lack the common sense to read the race and anticipate rider reactions they shouldn’t be in the job. sure collisions happen, mostly through distraction or loss of attention, but compared to a local club meet (in which i have many year’s experience in both organising, marshalling and partaking in lead, follow and mechanical support driving duties) this is a highly controlled environment. there’s no excuse.

  • David Bassett

    Good point re liability but once a race starts you are using the race insurance not your own.

  • NitroFan

    I questioned the use of the word “accident”!

    Even the Police no longer use the phrase as it is inaccurate , to then suggest that anyone with a view contrary to your own organising road races is likely to be responsible for the death of road racing is frankly an astonishing standpoint.
    Enjoy your riding.

  • David Bassett

    Well we could leave the looking after races to the like of
    you. then we will have no bike racing left for you to criticise. When you have driven in such circumstances then let’s hear what you think. I am sure you will be more understanding. Keep on riding your bike I hope you enjoy that.

  • NitroFan

    Sorry but quoting rules we are all familiar with in no way changes the fact these were not accidents! Both collisions were caused by driving without care and attention to the conditions on the road and you do not have had to have worked on a road race at any level to know that.
    ps Go ask the insurance company who is at fault! my money says they will put the liability firmly on the neutral carwhich was not following at a distance in which they coud stop!

  • David Bassett

    The team car was(actually) the one at fault. The Chief com (judge) tells the team car to service. Service in Europe is to ONLY be done on the right hand side of the rode and the team car has to stop behind the rider to protect him, or her.

    A rider broke his collarbone last week when the team car stopped
    in front of his rider. And they were only doing 5mph.

    I do wonder sometimes how many people that do the criticising
    have actually worked on a race at any level, never mind International level

  • David Bassett

    The car overtook because he was told to. The drivers only go
    where they are told to go. The drivers use their horns to let the riders know
    they are coming through. I hate to say it but very often the riders ignore team
    cars and neutral service. But they are the first to cry and spit their dummies
    out when they don’t get serviced quick enough.

  • NitroFan

    Probably! They certainly were not apying attention to the job they are pid to do drive!

  • NitroFan

    Improper road position is no accident! Nor is driving too cloe to the vehicle in front without paying proper attention. Collisions are exactly that, there is always a reason and those reaons are clear for all to see in both cases yesterday, Accident is the term the guilty use to excuse their poor driving!

  • NitroFan

    That is not the case I was watching the race live and assure you both cars stopped imediatly. Admitedly the second hd no choice it was rammed in the back of the FDJ team car, riders deserve better than this.

  • Peddler

    Nah. There was never going to be enough room for the car to come through. And why did it need to overtake in the first place?

  • Zeke

    Both the Shimano support cars stopped, i was watching the race on TV when it happened. When Jesse got hit, you can just make out the Shimano support vehicle slowing down in the above clip. In the second one the with Sebastien the whole front end of the Shimano support car was stoved in, the car was going nowhere. Sebastien actually got hit by the door of the car as the team mechanic was just about to get out when they got rear ended.

  • Pbody

    They did not even stop and went on like nothing happened.

  • sepat B18C

    i suspected the drivers were updating the facebook hehe

  • Rubel Raf

    in the case of “Jesse Sergent” the driver of the car is to blame.

    # All “Support Cars” was on the right side, while that “Shimano Car” was on the left.

    # It is obvious that in any race, racers will lean close to the turning side at the turning [in this case, to their left], So overtaking the racers at a turning point is “Absolutely Outrageous”. Either the driver is “Highly Inexperienced” to know about this, or is “Highly Experienced” to know about this and intentionally caused the accident.

    In any case “Shimano” has to come up with an explanation.

  • David Bassett

    zeresh geresh What do you mean?

    If you are criticising driver then maybe you should understand that accidents do happen. This is not like the TV car in the Tour de France that forced his way through when he was told to stay back and hit Juan Antonio Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland the
    Shimano natural service (or whoever is doing it) is told were to be at all times and is called through or to drop back by the race commeasure. Looking at the clip over and over again you can see that the rider did move to his left, only very slightly, the road had an extremely high curb stopping the front wheel to mount the curb, result a horrible ACCEDENT. The driver was not someone out on open roads braking speed limits or drinking and driving he was just part of the race, as much as the riders, Moto cameras and every one that goes between the start and finish of the race.

  • zeresh geresh

    For less you get your driver license revoked for long long time !!