Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) has spoken up on behalf of his fellow riders after a horrendous crash at the recent Vuelta a Burgos saying it is a result of 'neglicence'.
According to the Belgian, riders are still being placed in harm’s way despite rider safety being discussed more frequently at UCI level.
In the final kilometres of stage two of the Vuelta a Burgos, a speed bump placed in a downhill section caused David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma) to crash which then caused a subsequent mass pile-up.
Dekker was then blamed for the horrendous crash by the director of the Spanish stage race.
As a senior rider in the peloton, Gilbert has acted as a rider representative at meetings with the UCI around safety.
In a statement on social media, Gilbert wrote: “As the rider’s representative for the Athletes’ Commission of the UCI, I support all the riders who, unfortunately, crashed at the Tour de Burgos.
“I defend the safety of athletes and denounce this kind of breach!
“I asked the UCI to create a protocol for recognition, control and validation of routes and especially for finishes. However, this is still not in place. Unfortunately the riders are always the victims of this negligence.
“It’s time safety topics be taken seriously. Things need to change for the good of cycling.”
The UCI have been under scrutiny for dangerous finishes in races before. Including at the Tour de Pologne in the infamous crash involving Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen. That particular crash caused various rules on safety to be introduced and that particular finish was banned.
Gilbert was one of many high profile voices when the UCI overhauled its safety protocols in 2021. The regulations brought in then would appear to prohibit finishes similar to the one in Burgos.
“There must be no obstacles such as road narrowings, traffic islands and speed bumps in the final kilometre," reads the Specifications for Organisers, a supplement to standard regulations for organisers of WorldTour or ProSeries events, Burgos being a ProSeries event.
However, another clause in the organisation's regulations says that “in no case” can the governing body “be held responsible for any defects in the course of accidents that may occur”. Safety issues are deemed to be firmly in the remit of the race organisers.
Multiple riders expressed their fury after being caught up in the incident last week. Eduardo Affini, teammate of Dekker, expressed his frustrations with the UCI on social media.
Affini said: “I feel very sorry and sad for everyone involved and I hope no one is badly injured. Dear UCI, after all that happened already, to allow a finish with a speed bump so high in the last 800m coming from a super high speed section is a disgrace. Unacceptable."
Cycling Weekly has not received a reply to a request for comment from the UCI after the crash at the Vuelta a Burgos.
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