The UCI has imposed a series of measures on the BinckBank Tour following a number of safety failings at the 2019 edition of the race.
A number of riders voiced their concerns during this year’s BinckBank Tour, calling the tight and winding finishes “crazy and dangerous”, with the CPA cyclists’ union saying the race did not belong in the WorldTour.
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The UCI and CPA have since held discussions on how to improve rider safety conditions at the race, with the UCI then identifying a number of breaches concerning event organisation and safety regulations.
In response, the UCI have appointed a Technical Advisor for the 2020 race, which organisers will have to pay for themselves. They have also evaluated the standard of quality and safety of the organisation of the event, which will remain on the WorldTour for 2020, with a decision pending on the status of the event in the future.
The UCI have also said they imposed a fine on race organisers “as part of a procedure of acceptance and consequences”.
The criticism from riders of the first three stages of the race was partly a result of the tragic death of Bjorg Lambrecht still fresh in the minds of those within the world of cycling.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Tim Declerq said after stage three of the race: “[The] hypocrisy of the cycling world. First we have a really touching minute of silence [for Bjorg Lambrecht], five minutes later we have to destroy each other again on a bike lane-wide parcours with a million corners.”
On stage three, in an incident unrelated to the organisation of the race, the peloton miraculously avoided a huge crash after a spectator stepped out onto the road as the bunch passed by.
Then on stage five Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) criticised the design of the barriers placed with 200m to go. He said: “This sport is dangerous enough, we race above 60km/h in a final like this. It is not acceptable! To the CPA, it’s time to show your presence.”
Cycling’s governing body have been able to preside over race safety since new rules in 2017, with new regulations this year that allow them to make disciplinary rulings on safety failings specifically. Their intervention with the running of the BinckBank Tour is the first time these regulations have been invoked by the UCI.
The ability to impose sanctions on race organisers is one of a number of initiatives brought in by the UCI in recent years to improve rider safety, including the extreme weather protocol, which has been implemented at a number of races this year, most notably at the Tour de France.
During the UCI’s meeting with the CPA, they say the two parties have also agreed to enhance rider safety with concrete proposals due to be introduced during the 2020 season.