The UCI must take action after a motorbike hit Stig Broeckx on Sunday in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, otherwise, cycling is living by the law of the jungle, says former professional and union president Cédric Vasseur.
A passing medic motorbike swiped the team Lotto-Soudal Belgian cyclist in the final 35km of Belgium’s semi-Classic race. The team reported that he was taken to the hospital and suffered a fractured right collarbone, a rib fracture and a bruised hand. He will undergo surgery this evening.
“Honestly, the UCI must do something because it’s not acceptable to have the riders hit by cars or motorbikes. Those riders sacrifice so much to be there and in form for these races, and an incident ruins it all,” Vasseur told Cycling Weekly.
“It’s bad for team Lotto and bad for the image of cycling. Tonight, that’s all we are talking about. It’s not acceptable that we have this going on. Today it was Stig Broeckx, but it could have been anyone else.”
Vasseur won stages in the Tour and wore the yellow jersey. The Frenchman now works as a television commentator and knows the situation first hand because in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France, he is giving live coverage from the back of France TV2 motorbike.
“The motorbike driver must be sanctioned, the race organiser must be sanctioned, otherwise, it’s the law of jungle,” Vasseur added.
“We have many problems in cycling [with motors and talk of disc brakes], we have to rank them in importance. The biggest thing is the image of cycling, and of course, that’s safety of riders. It happened in Flanders and in the Vuelta, both WorldTour events, and today again in a hors category event.
“The UCI is not serious in facing this problem. They talk and say they will brainstorm, but it’s not about that now, you have to act at this point. If an organiser cannot have professional people in their race, then they don’t deserve WorldTour or hors category status.”
A Shimano car collided with Jesse Sergent (Trek Factory Racing) and Frenchman Sébastien Chavanel (FDJ) in the Tour of Flanders last year, a motorbike knocked down Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) in the Tour de France and the same with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) in the Vuelta a España. Sagan was able to recover in time to win the World Championships.
“This is a safety issue. I was the CPA [Association of Professional Cyclists] president and I heard it in the UCI road commission meetings. They say safety is the most important thing in UCI race, but we see it’s just, ‘Bla bla bla.’ Though, nothing happens,” Vassuer said.
“I know Lotto is on its own tonight. The other teams must not be so selfish and unite to force a change.”