Crashes and injuries played a major role in this year's Tour de France, particularly in the opening week, but how did they happen?

The opening week of the 2015 Tour de France was marred by crashes, which saw a number of very high-profile casualties, including Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), both of whom were forced out of the race with injuries while wearing the yellow jersey.

There are a number of contributing factors in what causes crashes, but we thought we’d ask Cycling Weekly readers for their opinion on what they think is at the root of the problem.

It was a controversial question, with some complaining that we shouldn’t be asking it – but when crashes have so heavily shaped the race – in this and previous editions of the Tour – it is something worthy of discussion.

>>> Tour de France ‘hooliganism’ must stop, says UCI president Brian Cookson

Here are a selection of your answers. We’d like to hear more of your opinions in the comments box directly below this article.

I think it’s probably due to the massively high stakes. The Tour is vitally important for every team, and the need for results, whether stage, green or yellow, means that riders are probably taking greater risks in order to get to the front.
Simon Daw

Too many hours spent on trainers and not on the road, you only get handling skills by riding the bike.
Charlie Ryan

Sectional peloton overcrowding resulted in crashes from bike-on-bike contact or limited forward views of deviations or obstructions in their path of travel. Wet roads also contributed due to traction loss.
Ron Antonelli

All the good-looking fans on the sidelines make for quite a distraction I guess!
Benjamin Goddard

The mountain stages are to deep into the Tour, resulting in the entire peloton thinking they still have a good shot at the general classification in the first week. This means everyone wants to be at the front row all the time.
Richard de Hoop

Race radios: 200 riders simultaneously being told to get to the front by their directeur sportifs as there’s a roundabout/narrow road/bad corner coming up.
Artie Fufkin

The third stage of the Tour de France is neutralised (Sunada)

The third stage of the 2015 Tour de France was neutralised after a crash (Sunada)

It actually seems like there have been less crashes this year, in my opinion.
Justin Hanneken

It’s a matter of perspective. It feels like there have been a lot of crashes, but what should we expect when hundreds of riders cycle thousands of miles together? Do the maths and I reckon there are fewer crashes than average of, say, a one-day classic.
Josh King

Invisible aardvarks! Hundreds of them, all over the place, pooing everywhere!
Paul Cole

Pro cycling is a high-speed sport with huge bunches of riders travelling inches apart… accidents will always happen.
John Bryson

Because the riders haven’t sat their Cycling Proficiency. Reckon I could smoke them with my excellent indicating skills and hi-vis torso strap from Halfords.
Roy Milne

Because the directeur sportif says get to the front – to everyone and they can’t all be at the front. Why do they need to be on the front? To stay clear of the crashes? Hmmm.
Huw Salway

Too many riders. Cut the number of riders per team and cut the amount of wild cards. It won’t stop crashes, we will always have crashes, but I do think it will help in having less of them.
William Dunne

Near 200 people all trying to fit in the same spot on the road. Blistering heat makes you more tired, easier to lose focus. Human error, mechanicals, dropped bottles, instability in turns, rain and human error again.
Chris Witek

It may be just modern racing. But if there was a chart of how many riders were on a road and factors like width, traffic furniture, quality of surface and weather conditions, then you could provide an analysis. Cycling Weekly could do that and not ask questions readers can’t answer without the facts.
Hugh Stickland

Tramadol.
Andy Thompson

Lack of cycling etiquette.
Alan Coom

Video: Best of the 2015 Tour de France

  • Logan Hartanian

    Could the uptick in Tramadol use, be causing side effects that lead to aggressive and unsafe behavior ?

  • Adam Beevers

    Crashes occur when one bicycle or rider impacts another, causing a change in momentum that the appropriate reaction force cannot be generated to keep the state the same. Entropy is then generated.

  • RobTM

    There weren’t more crashes this year, it was who was affected with mass publiciity consequences ie yellow jerseys. Cancellara was taken out when Degenkolb suddenly changed his line at high speed, crossing in front of the first faller whom many blame (suspect contact with his front wheel). Martin was careless. Racing in the rain, you get spills, end of.

  • David Chadderton

    We probably cannot explain why but the first week is carnage and wrecks many riders year.

  • Lynn Pounian

    Simplest answer: Warren Barguil.

  • Fra Cazzo da Velletri

    Is this now Viz and you have finally given up attempting to be a serious outlet?