Riders have labelled the ‘protruding-feet’ barriers involved in Álvaro Hodeg’s nasty crash over the weekend as “dangerous”, calling for them to be banned.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider was coming into the finishing straight, ready to contest the sprint of the Belgian Tour de l’Eurométropole, but took the corner wide and hit the feet of the barriers which protrude out into the road.
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Recent runner-up in the men’s road race at the Yorkshire Worlds, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), criticised the barriers following the incident, calling for them to be banned at all races.
“The problem is not only there [at the Tour de l’Eurométropole]. We go at 60km/h or more, also in other parts of the race. Those kind of barriers should be banned everywhere. Just look how dangerous they were in the Worlds or in the Grand Tour time trials this year! Flat feet barriers are available everywhere in the world!”
The Italian is perhaps referring to the individual time trial at the Tour de France where Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) suffered a heavy crash on the run-in to the finish, with the Belgian blaming the barrier placement and saying he might pursue compensation from race organisers for what he claims could have been a “career-ending” crash: “The severity of the injury is a consequence of the placement of the barriers. My management group is currently studying a claim for financial compensation,” Van Aert said.
Trentin continued, saying that instead of dealing with the impact of the types of barriers used in races, authorities focus is misplaced on other matters: “But the most important things [according to racing authorities] are sock length – disqualifying someone for something that always happened, no feed from the cars in the last 20km of a race, no race radios in the Worlds, no cutting our 45x45cm numbers, being on time for team presentations that are always late.”
Following the crash, Álvaro Hodeg was taken to the hospital where it was revealed he had suffered a left forearm fracture, a right shoulder fracture and two fractured ribs.
The Colombian will require an operation on his shoulder, and was kept in hospital overnight to be monitored for signs of concussion, but is in stable and comfortable condition, his team says.
Groupama-FDJ rider Jacopo Guarnieri added his voice to the discontent, saying: “Instead of disqualifying people who make rollers and measure socks, does our federation intend to do something about our safety while racing? I ask the UCI how can there still be falls like that of Álvaro Hodeg?”
Meanwhile, Hodeg’s team-mate Florian Sénéchal, who had been part of his sprinter’s lead-out at the Tour de l’Eurométropole, simply posted question marks and a disappointed emoji, drawing a circle around the barriers on a screenshot of Hodeg’s crash.
Following his operation, Hodeg said: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your beautiful wishes. I only have a few broken things, what hurts me the most is to finish my season in this way.”
The UCI have been contacted for comment.