Cycling's governing body, the UCI, will increase the number of staff at races to monitor the application of new guidelines to protect riders from race vehicles
The UCI will “significantly increase” the number of personnel on the ground at races to monitor the compliance of new safety guidelines brought in as a result of the increasing number of accidents involving riders and race vehicles.
The guidelines, introduced before this weekend’s incident at the Belgium Tour, in which Lotto-Soudal rider Stig Broeckx was left in a coma, state that vehicles should not pass groups of riders without direct permission from the race commissaire, among other strict instructions.
“These new rules require absolute vigilance from all drivers and motorbike riders, who must at all times prioritise the safety of riders in the race, spectators and other vehicles,” said a UCI statement on Monday.
“The new rules also make it clear that everyone in charge of a vehicle must immediately comply with all directions from race commissaires. The need for safe driving, particularly when overtaking riders, has been given extra emphasis by commissaires during pre-race briefings.”
Increased human resources will be deployed at races to ensure that these new guidelines are being followed, according to the UCI, to try and reduce the shocking number of accidents we have seen in recent months.
UCI president Brian Cookson said: “Safety is an absolutely vital issue for the UCI and our stakeholders, and it is crucial we do all in our power to protect the riders from unnecessary risks.
“We have seen too many incidents involving motorcycles, and that is why we recently adopted clear new rules governing how vehicles must be driven in races. Right now, our thoughts are with Stig Broeckx, his family, friends and teammates from Lotto-Soudal.”
The governing body says it will be working with the Belgian Cycling Federation to investigate the circumstances of the incident involving Broeckx on Saturday, which led to the cancellation of the stage and a rider protest the following day.
It is believed that a motorbike crashed into another motorbike and then hit the group of cyclists. It is the second time that Broeckx has been involved in such an incident, having broken his collarbone in a collision with a moto at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in February.