Increases pressure on the UCI to improve safety in races

Road 15/04/24 16:50 Migue A.

The crashes of the past few weeks, such as the massive one that occurred in the Itzulia, continue to have repercussions due to the effect they have had on teams like Visma-Lease a Bike, which has been left practically leaderless. This is why voices demanding that the UCI address the problem and seek measures to improve race safety are multiplying.

Teams begin to request more safety in races

The problem of the increase in crashes in professional road races is not new. It has been dragging on for a few years now, and yet, until now, when the most powerful team in the world, Visma-Lease a Bike, has been left almost completely leaderless, teams do not seem to have been aware of the problem and are beginning to pressure the UCI to take action.

For a few years now, the increase in crashes has been attributed to the widespread use of Tramadol, which led to a ban on the use of this painkiller during races. It was also blamed on the excess of cyclists in the peloton, and the UCI reduced the number of riders per team. In reality, these were just band-aids for a problem in which the riders themselves admit their share of blame in a cycling world where the pace is getting faster and directors urge their riders to constantly ride at the front and in groups.

Now that important cyclists have been affected, teams are starting to take notice of the safety problem. Obviously, the most critical of this situation could not be anyone other than Richard Plugge, general manager of Visma-Lease a Bike, who has openly spoken about the economic impact of losing cyclists like Van Aert or Vingegaard ahead of the Giro d'Italia, and in the case of the Dane, with serious doubts about his participation in the Tour de France.

Plugge points out that a lack of success during a season could lead to losing sponsors "We have to protect people, but also think about the business. This is harmful to our sport. Everyone was looking forward to a showdown between Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic, and Remco Evenepoel in the Tour de France, and now it's likely that we won't have that.".

In fact, Richard Plugge is one of the driving forces, along with INEOS Grenadiers owner Jim Ratcliffe, behind the creation of SafeR, an independent entity aimed at improving safety in races.

In fact, Ratcliffe compared what is happening in cycling right now to what happened years ago in Formula 1 when the legendary Ayrton Senna lost his life in an accident over 30 years ago, which was a turning point in addressing safety in races and transforming the regulations of that sport.

Ratcliffe has called on the governing bodies of cycling to take real measures to improve safety, however, he is also aware that existing rivalries between different cycling bodies are hindering a necessary process. In any case, Radcliffe has not specified what measures he proposes to carry this out, seemingly passing the buck to the UCI while waiting for SafeR to start functioning and see if its role becomes relevant or not.

There seems to have been unanimous praise for ASO for the proposed measure for the recently held Paris-Roubaix race, placing a chicane to reduce the speed at the entry to the legendary yet dangerous Arenberg forest section.



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Augmente la pression sur l'UCI pour améliorer la sécurité lors des courses