The president of the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) Gianni Bugno has reiterated that rider safety must come first and for further improvements to rider safety protocols during races following the death of Antoine Demoitié on Sunday night.
The 25-year-old Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider crashed with a number of other riders during the 2016 Ghent-Wevelgem before a motorbike fell on top of him. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Lille where he was immediately transported to for treatment.
But the tragic incident has raised further questions over the safety of riders among other race vehicles like cars and motorbikes, particularly after several incidents of riders colliding with race vehicles last year, and an incident at the 2016 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne which saw Lotto-Soudal’s Stig Broeckx taken out by a motorbike.
The CPA released a statement on Monday morning in reference to the incident, with Bugno describing it as ‘time of sadness and sorrow’ but also a time of ‘frustration’. The Italian called on authorities to improve safety standards during races.
“At this time of sadness and sorrow for the death of Antoine, we do not want to make controversy, but we have so much frustration inside,” Bugno said.
“We have always stated that the safety of the riders must be in first place in the discussions of the cycling stakeholders and at the last CCP meeting, we have specifically asked to quickly communicate the strategies developed recently to improve security during the races.
“I do not want to accuse anyone but make everyone reflect on the responsibility we have to ensure that a very high level of attention, awareness, and control over safety standards is always maintained during each race.”
Tributes to Demoitié, who only made his WorldTour debut at the E3 Harelbeke last Friday, flooded in from all corners of the cycling community on Monday, with UCI President saying in a statement that “Antoine will be truly missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and team.”
The UCI also said that it will “cooperate with all relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances of this tragic incident.”