Crashes, what can be done?

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One issue here is cyclist are wearing Lycra or barely anything to protect them. Other sports have more protection. Even baseball players have more protection for legs/arms that are most likely to get hit by a pitch than cyclists have.
It´s hard to imagine how it would be designed... But yeah racing in lycra in 100 km/h is crazy if you think about it.

Smaller peloton and don´t count GC on flat stages at all is low hanging fruit I think..
 
Smaller peloton and don´t count GC on flat stages at all is low hanging fruit I think..
How would you classify a flat stage? I don't think simply saying "a stage with no categorised climbs" would work. After all, what if there's a small non-categorised climb - and in some races even rather big-looking climbs can be non-categorised - about 2 Ks from the finish? Shouldn't a rider be allowed to attack, and maybe get a few seconds back?
 
But I don’t want to see a situation where gc riders can just check out of the bunch with 10km to go.
Why?

To me it's like watching Pacquiao in the ring with Tyson and Joshua. Or Farah running in front of Bolt. It's silly. And most importantly what do we gain that is worthy of risking the GC battle for it?

@RedheadDane

Crosswind reduces a bunch. All in all crosswinds do not have much to do with what we discussed earlier.
 
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It´s hard to imagine how it would be designed... But yeah racing in lycra in 100 km/h is crazy if you think about it.

Smaller peloton and don´t count GC on flat stages at all is low hanging fruit I think..
Yeah, I have no clue about design. That's way off of what I can do. But lycra isn't exactly protecting anyone from anything when it comes to road rash let alone more severe injuries.
 
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One issue here is cyclist are wearing Lycra or barely anything to protect them. Other sports have more protection. Even baseball players have more protection for legs/arms that are most likely to get hit by a pitch than cyclists have.
Baseball players have 90 mph projectiles being thrown at them, and spend most of the rest of the 3-hour game standing around. It's completely different requirements to cycling, which is 4-5 hours of intense cardio, and only getting something thrown at you if you've really annoyed some temperamental Belgian/Italian sprinter.

I could never understand why baseball players wore long pants in July and August, until the first time I slid on the dirt of a baseball diamond. That's worse than road rash. You absolutely would not wear lycra in that game. But you'd never go for a 4-hour bike ride in baseball gear either.
 
Crosswind reduces a bunch. All in all crosswinds do not have much to do with what we discussed earlier.
The big crash on stage five happened because of the stress of anticipated crosswinds. But let me remind you once again that no one was seriously injured in that crash! A few riders has had to leave since that, but that's it. As for Bardet losing time: Frankly; who cares? He probably wasn't going to challenge much for the race anyway, and now he can go hunt stages and possibly KoM! Sure, you can be slightly saddened for him, if he was really aiming to go for the GC - seems like he more and more doesn't really want to these days - but in the greater scope of things, it's just not that important.

I just don't understand how this thread went from How do we prevent serious injury? to How do we make sure GC riders don't lose time?
 
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Why?

To me it's like watching Pacquiao in the ring with Tyson and Joshua. Or Farah running in front of Bolt. It's silly. And most importantly what do we gain that is worthy of risking the GC battle for it?
A Grand Tour is (in theory at least) all about the accumulated fatigue that the riders will endure during a three week race, and the flat stages and their finales add to that.

Crashes/accidents/mechanicals/great comebacks and setbacks following crashes are a also fundamental part of the sport's history. Of course no one wants to see the horror crashes with fatal consequences, but there are thankfully not that many of them, when you consider the total amount of races and crashes.

Many myths, legends and what ifs have also been based on riders who were sadly taken out of races due to crashes or other accidents.

René Vietto created a name for himself because he sacrificed his own chances to help his fallen leader, Eugène Christophe lost the Tour because he crashed on the descent from Tourmalet and later got illegal help from a child to fix his bike, Ocaña lost the 1971 Tour on the descent from Col de Menté because Merckx and Zoetemelk made him crash hard, Beloki got his career destroyed on the Col de Manse descent, but we still remember it because of how Armstrong avoided going down with him, Ullrich and Armstrong waiting for each other after crashes despite their fierce rivalry, Contador and Froome crashing out of the 2014 Tour, Froome losing out on a possible 5th Tour win, Nibali and Van Vleuten crashing out on their way to the Olympic titles in Rio, Jean-François Bernard losing the 1987 Tour due to mechanicals and a sneaky attack by Mottet, Roche and Delgado and a year later getting his career ruined by crashing in an ill-lit tunnel during the Giro, Roglič crashing out due to a "body check" by Colbrelli, Burghardt riding into a dog, Guerini colliding with a spectator but still winning on Alpe d'Huez, Michael Rasmussen losing a podium spot due to multiple crashes on the last ITT, Igor Antón losing his GC chances in the 2008 Vuelta and a possible overall win in the 2010 edition, Valverde breaking his collarbone in the 2006 Tour, which might have been his best chance to ever win the race, Kruijswijk hitting a wall of snow, Froome having to run up Mont Ventoux, Evenepoel losing Lombardia, and so on and so on.

Now this doesn't mean that the UCI and the race organisers shouldn't do more to minimise the risks, but it will be impossible to get rid of all crashes, and Roglič will not be the last GC favourite who gets struck by bad luck. If everything were straight forward and the favourites always won, the sport would actually get worse.
 
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@RedheadDane

I see your point but saying something in the lines of a bit of GC related crashing at the end of bunch sprint stages is desirable. IMHO it's not. If some GC contender has a rather poor bike handling skills there are other opportunities where they can lose time. And likely such contender won't be considered as being a GC contender in the first place. As for the excitement. Basically the main reason we watch such stages (end of such stages). It is all about sprinters anyway. If a GC contender crashes then usually the race itself becomes less.

@Samu Cuenca

From more general point of view i am sure that we won't eradicate crashes anytime soon. Like the introduction of VAR didn't eradicate dubious decisions from football. Still cycling on a top level should be more methodical about crashes. And where preventable and not interfering with the sport itself the number of safety related incidents should go down each year. TDF 2021 exposed this aspect of pro cycling is currently a joke.
 
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CyclistAbi:
I haven't read every single post in this thread, so apologies in advance if I've got this wrong.
If I'm correct, you're suggesting GC contenders should back off and let the sprinters have at it. Seems that the 3 km mark is not good enough in terms preserving the chances of a GC contender's chance at the overall.
How do you describe a GC contender, and what if they happen to be, say, "caught up" in a bunch gallop to the line while his closest rivals are freewheeling in and wondering what's for dinner?
Doesn't that present a disadvantage to the rider racing for the win?
 
I see your point but saying something in the lines of a bit of GC related crashing at the end of bunch sprint stages is desirable. IMHO it's not. If some GC contender has a rather poor bike handling skills there are other opportunities where they can lose time. And likely such contender won't be considered as being a GC contender in the first place. As for the excitement. Basically the main reason we watch such stages (end of such stages). It is all about sprinters anyway. If a GC contender crashes then usually the race itself becomes less.
Where have I ever said that GC related crashing at the end of bunch sprint stages is desirable? I've simply maintained that sometimes it's unavoidable!
What I am saying - however - and will keep saying, is that a GC rider losing time in a mass crash is really not that big a deal, not compared to other things.
 
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@Samu Cuenca

From more general point of view i am sure that we won't eradicate crashes anytime soon. Like the introduction of VAR didn't eradicate dubious decisions from football. Still cycling on a top level should be more methodical about crashes. And where preventable and not interfering with the sport itself the number of safety related incidents should go down each year. TDF 2021 exposed this aspect of pro cycling is currently a joke.
Expecting the amount of crashes to go down each year is not realistic. Maybe its possible to decrease the number of incidents over a longer period of time, but I have really no idea if it's worse or better now than it was 10 years ago for example. But crashes will always happen, just like mistakes will always be made because it's part of human nature.

What is desirable and hopefully achievable is to drecrease the number of fatal/severe/career ending accidents, though many of them actually happen in training where the UCI obviously has no jurisdiction or they are caused by sudden heart attacks, which have nothing to do with race courses.
 
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To me it's like watching Pacquiao in the ring with Tyson and Joshua. Or Farah running in front of Bolt. It's silly. And most importantly what do we gain that is worthy of risking the GC battle for it?
If we extend this logic shouldn't we just completely separate different forms of road cycling then? Have completely separate races for sprinters and GC riders? In the same way there are weight classifications for Boxing or different distances for Running. We don't make the argument in reverse - it is pretty much universally regarded that sprinters having to make it through multi mountain stages inside the time limit is part of being a world class competitive sprinter. But, really what do we gain from making sprinters do this that is worthy of risking a competitive green jersey battle?

In the same way, I love basketball in part because you can see Facundo Campazzo share the court with Walter Tavares and both completely excel and work together in what they do despite being wildly different body types and types of player. Indeed, I can watch Cheslin Kolbe and Nemani Nadolo line up against each other in the exact same position in rugby union and both be world class while being complete opposites in body type. Isn't the diversity of riders and riding styles competing all against one another part of the beauty of cycling?
 
Tell that to Wout van Aert, a winner in every category of the TDF.
Why deny him a chance of a win in a race he enters?
Will he ever win a GT race by winning bunch sprint stages? And then again he can take the stage win and some time on flat route as GC vise there will always be a point where the differences are measured.

@RedheadDane

I read it in between the lines. But if you argue it is not desirable then that is even better. Claiming it is unavoidable that is simply not true. Crashes are a big deal regardless of what you believe.

@Samu Cuenca

I am sure that some people claimed the same in F1. After they took the safety seriously it was proven wrong. That is claims nothing can be done.

@EliseeReclus

No i don't see it like that. You are mostly exaggerating. I see it as a small and more or less meaningless adjustment, where you take the initiative away from GC guys to be there. Just like sprinters are not there on top of the mountains.
 
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There is another way. Nothing gets done and after another safety fiasco of a GT race the riders decide to do something themselves. They can always take the initiative where GC guys agree to form a grupetto at the end of bunch sprint stages. For that nothing needs to change and they don't have to ask anybody to do that. They need to realise safety in pro cycling is currently a joke. And the joke's on them.

Point being something will get done one way or another.
 
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@Samu Cuenca

I am sure that some people claimed the same in F1. After they took the safety seriously it was proven wrong. That is claims nothing can be done.
What was proved wrong?
Again I'm not saying nothing can be done or that nothing should be done, just that crashes are unavoidable.

Thinking the riders will come together seems unrealistic, because they have actually tried to do that for years, but in the end they haven't really been able to agree on much. That has made the CPA a joke, and time will tell if the Riders Union will fare better, but since its being worked against by both the UCI and the CPA, it will be hard for it to accomplish stuff. But hopefully it can bring a bit more pressure onto the other organisations, so some improvements will come.
 
All stages can, should and in fact must count towards the GC unless cancelled. If conditions necessitate it, the organisers can neutralise it or the péloton can protest it. Sometimes with justification (2009 Milano circuit, with cars etc. getting on it), and sometimes less so (2020 Giro when Adam Hansen got up in the morning, saw it was raining and didn't fancy it), but those races should count towards the GC, otherwise we're heading dangerously down the rabbit hole of Paris-Dakar with set timed sections and set liaison sections. Road cycling is a race from point A to point B, and any point between is a valid place to gain time. And yes, that does include crashes, although the unsporting nature of that means repercussions ought to be expected from the rest of the péloton in the circumstances. I mean, do we really want rid of stages like the 2010 Giro stage Pozzato won, where on a day expected to be for the sprinters, he initiated a move that people like Basso and Scarponi got into and turned it into a GC day? How about that Tour stage when Froome, Sagan and Bodnar escaped to gain time in 2016? 2011 Contador into Tropea? Quintana gaining 5 minutes into Guadalajara in the 2019 Vuelta? The stage 7 echelon slugfest in the 2020 Tour which was probably the best stage of the entire race, where the soporific GC battle was enlivened by an aggressive push for the maillot vert by Bora, who daren't ease up at all in the first hour or two lest Bennett get back on to contest the intermediate? Those were all stages which were designated flat but wound up providing more action - and crucially, more significant action - than would ordinarily be the case.

Yes, a lot of flat stages are boring, interchangeable and irrelevant, and certainly in a lot of them where there's no reasonable outcome other than a sprint, the fact today's péloton never even lets the break get far enough up the road to dare to dream in these stages (to the point where on occasion - Tour 2020 stage 5 - they don't even bother) renders them particularly dull. This year's Tour, however, has done everything in its power to make the flat stages interesting, riding through areas that bait echelons and similar to try to encourage action. Encouraging more selectivity and decisive stages in flat stages to reduce the size of the bunch coming in to the finish together is a positive idea, but we can't (sadly) get Classics-style action daily from GT flat stages, because cumulative fatigue means sometimes these obstacles will be soft-pedalled by riders just seeking to make it through the day. And unfortunately that is still often reliant on the weather and, as we've seen in the Vuelta, if the weather doesn't play ball with those stages it can be absolutely dreadful, but you can't just say "don't count that stage" in order to prevent GC riders getting hurt or crashing out, because what if the weather does play ball? Part of the fun with the Classics is that the bad weather at that time of year often plays a role that it simply can't in either the Tour or the Vuelta except on rare occasions (Angliru 2002, looking in your direction here), but can - and indeed often does - in the Giro.

What if some GC man spots that others are mis-placed and anticipates a split in the péloton late on to gain a few seconds (like Bernal did the other day)? We can't just erase those possibilities because it would suck if a GC guy crashes out. GC guys crash out of every GT. Like, every single one. Bike racing involves 100 or more riders riding along in close proximity to each other for several hours, and a touch of wheels, a loss of concentration or trying to grab a bidon, a musette or adjust your safety equipment can be all it takes to cause a crash.

Maybe we need tighter regulation on what roads are suitable for a finish in World Tour races in stages classified as flat, or where we are looking at a group of >50 coming to the line together, to get rid of the likes of that downhill Katowice finish, and some actual proper enforcement of the rules within sprints based on the action and not the outcome but that's all really. I say in World Tour races because a finish that is no problem for a péloton of 90-120 including some WT, some Pro and some Continental teams in, say, the Danmark Rundt, may not be suitable for a péloton of 180-200 almost all WT riders who are expected to be closer to each other in level, and where stages that might produce some time gaps in smaller races where riders' level and form varies far more often are less likely to do so in stages of major races where the field is almost all high-level riders at peak form.

Edit: added paragraph breaks
 
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No i don't see it like that. You are mostly exaggerating. I see it as a small and more or less meaningless adjustment, where you take the initiative away from GC guys to be there. Just like sprinters are not there on top of the mountains.
What is the exaggeration?

I think it is fanciful to say that it is a meaningless adjustment, outside of it's implementation in extraordinary circumstances at the moment, it can really only be implemented in a blanket manner on pan flat stages. Otherwise it would have significant implications on how races are raced, particularly if there are any hilly sections immediately preceding the 10km cut off.

I don't see that many crashes that have affected GC riders in Grand Tours this year that have happened in the last 10km - only Landa in the Giro and Haig in the Tour - so don't see this as providing any significant safety benefit? Especially when those two crashes could have been mitigated through better stage design.

It's interesting that you mention Formula One and safety, as one of the primary safety issues pertaining to the drivers they have is their license system. Drivers have to have enough experience at lower levels alongside theory tests to progress up through each grade of license in order to drive at higher levels until they reach Super License level for Formula One. Maybe taking safety seriously in cycling means something like this could be used and riders have to have something like 5 years experience at Conti/Junior/U23 level before they can progress and race at world tour level.
 
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@Samu Cuenca

Safety in F1 has improved considerably. As for us now agreeing something could be done in pro cycling too. That is good enough for me. This is a huge leap forward from saying nothing can be done. As once all parties involved agree something could be done, then things will get done.

@Libertine Seguros

Sprint stages would still count GC vise. It's not like you would cross some point 30s ahead and that would count for nothing. But at the very end of such stages the initiative to be there, GC vise, should be very low. For sure take the stage win if you are in such position. It's not like it would be illegal. On the rest of such stages i guess forming a gruppeto could work for now. Seeing potential solutions likely won't come from somewhere else.

@EliseeReclus

I have seen enough sprint stages at their end in my life to know what the reality on such stages is. As for potential to gain a GC advantage on a GC stage. That would still be possible and i don't see any issues there. Hence the meaningless remark.
 
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I have seen enough sprint stages at their end in my life to know what the reality on such stages is. As for potential to gain a GC advantage on a GC stage. That would still be possible and i don't see any issues there. Hence the meaningless remark.
I still don't see how this can mitigate against crashes in a better way than having more rigorous stage design parameters, especially as I still think there are some pretty massive downsides to applying it in a blanket fashion. Specifically which crashes would implementing this in the way you specify have stopped in this year's grand tours?

If this were the only option that could significantly reduce crashes I'm sure the majority of this forum would be in favour of it. I just see that it is neither likely to be particularly effective in reducing crashes, nor is there a lack of other options that could be more comprehensive in improving safety.
 
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