Current and former riders have called on the UCI to make changes to the safety of finish lines following the horrific crash at the end of the Tour of Poland’s stage one on Wednesday.
In the closing metres of the 195km stage to Katowice, Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma forced Fabio Jakobsen wide into the barrier, sending the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider over the railings and hitting a race official.
The Dutch sprinter is in a stable condition in hospital but remains in an induced coma. He underwent facial surgery on Wednesday night.
The horror scenes from Poland have ignited a debate in the cycling world about the safety of finishes, with many questioning why the stage finished on a downhill slope.
Every year since the 2010 edition the same finish has been used, always resulting in a high-speed bunch sprint.
One rider angered by its inclusion yet again was Simon Geschke, rider for CCC.
Many are wanting the CPA - the Professional Cyclists Association - to work on behalf of the riders and improve conditions, with riders questioning the role the body does.
Movistar's José Joaquín Rojas tweeted: “We only throw our hands to our heads when things like this happen. It is clear that Groenewegen’s action was not clean, but for years I have been watching and competing in this final and it is crazy! It is a sprint finish on a s**t circuit and finish.
“At more than 80km/h it is crazy. Who looks after us? Sometimes, it gives me the feeling that we are just cattle that are taken to the road for a spectacle and for a point. What is our CPA?”
Fabio Sabatini, Cofidis’ Italian sprinter, tweeted that the “Tour of Poland must understand that making an arrival at 85km/h is always suicide. And for years I have thought the same way, but they always want the show.
Replying to his tweet, CCC’s Fran Ventoso said that the reason such sprints are permitted is because “our union that is the CPA allow it. [They have] never done anything for safety. Will they now?”
Alessandro De Marchi, teammate of Ventoso and Geschke, posted on Twitter:
Sean Kelly also called on change.
Robbie McEwen, the former Australian sprinter who won three Tour de France green jerseys, questioned the barriers and asked the UCI to focus on safety improvements.
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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