Luxembourgian National road and time trial champion Christine Majerus has expressed concerns over rider safety in a blog post response to the death of Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht.
The Tour de Yorkshire points champion questioned the safety of race courses, pressure to make events faster and more “spectacular,” as well as the cars and motorbikes in the convoy – also suggesting that rider health could be better looked after with an extension of doping control.
Picking out the UCI’s recent enforcement of rules around sock height, Majerus commented: “I wish the race jury would put more importance checking all those kind of things then checking my sock heights.”
Writing for VoxWomen’s website, she stated: “2019 has been a rubbish year… I have seen and experienced way too much big crashes.”
The 32-year-old described waiting in neutralisations lasting as long as 45 minutes, whilst ambulances arrived to arrive to treat riders, and being unsure if family and friends at home were left worried by a halt in Twitter updates after the announcement of a “big crash”.
Discussing courses and race conveys, Majerus asked: “How safe are the laps actually we are racing on? Does it really need to be longer, fast, more spectacular?
“How trustful are the cars, motorbikes riding along us during the race? Are they experienced enough or is it their first time? Sometimes I do seriously ask myself the question.”
Earlier this year, riders at the Tour de France voiced concerns over the proximity of motorbikes, particularly those TV motos bringing coverage from the event.
Majerus’ criticisms did not end at racing itself – but also at the monitoring of riders. The prevalence of eating disorders within the pro peloton made headlines earlier this month when Jani Brajkovič wrote about his bulimia.
Relative low energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) was often referred to as the ‘female athlete triad’, until it was discovered that it could affect men too. Low energy can result in hormonal abnormalities and reduced bone density.
Majerus wrote: “Rider’s health in general is also part of the game. Why not extend the use of the biological passport? … Weight variations or low bone density, especially for female athletes, should be monitored on a regular basis.
“They should sometimes be reason enough to take an athlete out of the competition system and most important offer him help.”
Looking within the peloton, the ten time national road race champion also suggested that riders should do more to highlight risks on the road.
Referencing a recent race, she highlighted what she calls “disrespectful” behaviour from other riders, saying they were not pointing out hazards ahead.
“I don’t ask you to open up gaps for me in the final but showing pot holes, upcoming narrowings or stranded bottles won’t take you any energy or UCI points away, but it might just save someone’s life!”