Crashes, what can be done?

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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.
It would make a lot better sense to compare a GT or other bike races to the 24 hours of Le Mans than to the F1 though. A lot more riders with different experiences, backgrounds, equipments and team setups riding against each other for longer periods of time plus the weather also plays a bigger role in a 24h race than in a F1 race.

A crash like the one on stage 5 will always occure, cause there's no way to stop riders from touching wheels in the peloton, unless every race is an ITT, and even there riders sometimes collide with each other.
 
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@EliseeReclus

It was a bunch sprint related incident at the end of the sprint stage. Hence the exact length doesn't matter all that much. It should be enough to start noticing the drop in statistics. Or some other solution to be implemented with the same results. It was due to the GC riders having an initiative to be there.

@Samu Cuenca

F1 is a good example as they went from nothing can be done to now almost being to sterile. Point being it can be done.

As for crashing in a bunch. Sure that could happen elsewhere too but due to the nature of bunch sprint stages, especially down the narrow roads, it can be safely assumed it will happen at the end of the bunch spring stages too. It's a given.

Now we can continue to look at is as nothing can be done or do something about it to drop the occurrences. Sprinters will still likely be crashing occasionally but they are more specialised for it and it comes with the job. For GC guys it's just silly making them do it.
 
Oct 15, 2020
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It was a bunch sprint related incident at the end of the sprint stage. Hence the exact length doesn't matter all that much. It should be enough to start noticing the drop in statistics. Or some other solution to be implemented with the same results. It was due to the GC riders having an initiative to be there.
This is obfuscating things to quite a large degree, the length - or rather difference - is specifically the issue. By separating the GC Time finish line and Sprint Finish line you have a trade off that results in what would hopefully be a net reduction in crashes. As things stand you will have both GC Riders and Sprinters going full gas for the finish line, by separating you will have GC Riders going full gas for (let's say) the 10km banner alongside the early stages of sprint trains - this will necessarily make the point from 15-10km more dangerous than having the GC Time and Sprint finish lines together. Presumably, this is a net gain in safety by making the Sprint finish line and run in much safer by removing the GC Riders and teams.

No one here is arguing that nothing should be done, just that this separation of finish lines for sprint and GC riders will not solve anything, and will have some fairly large adverse impacts on the race.
 
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.
Sure... sure... they could spend a lot of resources to come up with a solution, resources that could, should, be used to come up with a solution to deal with those crashes with actual serious consequences. Crashes where the only outcome is GC riders losing time - and maybe a few broken bones - are not a big deal compared to some of the crashes we have seen.
 
@EliseeReclus

Agreeing on something could be done is fine by me for now. As for on how i am OK with whatever gets the job done and has minimal negative effects from the sports side. I am sure that if all parties involved would sit down a solution would emerge in a day or two.

@RedheadDane

It's perfectly OK to do the little things first. It's not like we are asking them to stretch their back or something. That would not be fair at all.
 
It's perfectly OK to do the little things first. It's not like we are asking them to stretch their back or something. That would not be fair at all.
I want them to do the big things first. I want them to:

Make sure all barriers are adequate. Would be perfect if the new BoPlan barriers became the standard.
Make sure all road furniture is properly marked, if not outright removed.
Make sure all (potentially) dangerous descends are properly marked.
Make sure it's 100% clear to locals, and passer-bys, that they cannot drive on the route during the race.
Make sure all moto-drivers are fully educated, most importantly in the matter of "Do not hit the riders!"
And of course sanction behaviours like that of Groenewegen in Poland last year, or even just Costa in Switzerland this year. And even this is complicated!
 
Reactions: Oldermanish
F1 is a terrible example. There are still plenty of crashes, but with lesser injuries because of how the car is build nowadays. You can't make a bike more crashproof.
There are far fewer crashes in F1 than it used to be for many reasons.

First of all, modern F1 tracks have plenty of tarmac run-offs in places, where 20 or 30 years ago there would be a wall, gravel or grass. It makes it so that small (or sometimes even not that small) mistakes end up with a broken car much less frequently.

Also there are improvements in technology. Engines are developed for more drivability, cars have more downforce. It all makes cars relatively easier to control. Also the cars are almost 1/3 heavier than they used to be, which means they're not as nimble and "nervous" to drive as in the past.

And the third factor is that the level of driving has improved. Drivers have now advanced simulators to practice, advanced telemetry that shows and lets them correct every mistake. They also take the physical preparation much more seriously than in the past and their training reigimes are really intense. Also the level of young driver categories has been increasing so they arrive at F1 better at driving racing cars already.

The pressure on drivers to drive "clean" is also bigger than in the past. Safety is taken much more seriously in modern F1 and drivers just know they can't afford to do some things other drivers have tried some 30 or 40 years ago because the backlash would be much stronger nowadays.

Of course the similarities between F1 and cyclings are limited, just like between any two different sports.
 
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Samu is right though, the 24h du Mans is a much better comparison point, because the course is far more crowded with a much larger discrepancy between fastest and slowest cars and varying quality of driver (is the guy in the LMP2 Jumbo car the ex-GP2 and DTM pilot with a decade's top level experience? Or the mid-40s gentleman driver who owns the car? These are things that affect how you react when you come to pass that car at 190mph, or when they appear to pass you in your rear view mirror, depending on which class you're driving in).

The other thing with the F1 comparison is, they drive on permanent circuits specifically designed for them. Apart from Monaco there are no 'true' street circuits anymore, they're all smoothed off like a billiard table, some of them even ignore where the actual roads go and are essentially just normal race tracks but in an urban setting, so things like Sochi, Valencia and Yas Marina are street circuits in name only. Baku and Marina Bay are hybrids (like La Sarthe is), and Montreal and Albert Park are parkland circuits. However, the thing that separates this out from cycling is, cycling uses unaltered public roads. Even Monaco sees public roads affected. A lot of that street furniture that is so hazardous for a pro péloton to come bounding through... for 364 days a year, that's essential for the safety of regular road users. It's a lot easier to improve the safety at an F1 circuit because you have to have an FIA Grade 1 Licence to host an F1 GP. If your circuit doesn't meet the safety criteria, then fine, we'll just withdraw that licence and you can make do with lower series like GTs, touring cars and the like. If that means building a new area of run-off, then so be it. It's all land that the circuits themselves own and can work with. And if it's successful, then great, you can keep races coming back to recoup the cost of those works. Not so with cycling, where it's the town or region which pays, not the circuit owner, because nobody 'owns' the point-to-point course. You pay to have the race come in, and then they have to work out how to make a safe finish in the town or city that is planned as host. Their recompense is through television exposure, tourist revenue and local businesses gaining from the influx of fans and the hotels, cafes and restaurants filling - there's no ticketed income like there is at motorsport where they can jack the price up a bit to cover their costs. You can't tell the town to construct a new run-off area or demolish a building in order to widen out a corner from being unsafe for a one-off event that they're already paying for. The most you can get a town to do is remove some signage temporarily and flatten out traffic islands.

The other thing is that, in F1, increased parity in the field of competition is a good thing for safety. It means nobody is dangerously slower than anybody else. In cycling, it's almost the reverse. Having a péloton of people who are all of an elite level means almost nobody dropped in a flat stage and suddenly you need a road which can handle 150 riders all going high speed in unison as the sprint is set up. The 2012 Giro's Danish start is a good example - they used roads, some of which had been used without trouble in the Danmark Rundt, but it was almost carnage with the Giro's péloton. Why? Well, for a start there's over 50% more riders in the Giro. Then you take into account 8 (or back then 9) riders per team as opposed to 6 or 7. Then you factor in that there's a greater proportion of high level riders there so it's harder to thin the pack out so more people are fighting to be at the front. Then you factor in that it's the first few days of a GT so the péloton tends to be nervous anyway, before the GC status quo has been settled. Then add onto that that the péloton in the Danmark Rundt will largely consist of teams who know what racing in Denmark is all about, whereas in the Giro we had some teams like Euskaltel and the Italian wildcard teams riding to protect waifish climbers who are completely out of their depth in northern classics-style racing. And finally, because of the nature of the Danmark Rundt, bonus seconds and being up at the front in the flat stages means that often the people contesting the sprints and the GC men are one and the same, whereas in the Giro you have a full sprinting field AND a full GC field all needing to fight for places at the front.
 
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The 2012 Giro's Danish start is a good example - they used roads, some of which had been used without trouble in the Danmark Rundt, but it was almost carnage with the Giro's péloton. Why? Well, for a start there's over 50% more riders in the Giro. Then you take into account 8 (or back then 9) riders per team as opposed to 6 or 7. Then you factor in that there's a greater proportion of high level riders there so it's harder to thin the pack out so more people are fighting to be at the front. Then you factor in that it's the first few days of a GT so the péloton tends to be nervous anyway, before the GC status quo has been settled. Then add onto that that the péloton in the Danmark Rundt will largely consist of teams who know what racing in Denmark is all about, whereas in the Giro we had some teams like Euskaltel and the Italian wildcard teams riding to protect waifish climbers who are completely out of their depth in northern classics-style racing. And finally, because of the nature of the Danmark Rundt, bonus seconds and being up at the front in the flat stages means that often the people contesting the sprints and the GC men are one and the same, whereas in the Giro you have a full sprinting field AND a full GC field all needing to fight for places at the front.
All of this is pretty much the reason why - despite many of us wanting them to - they're not going to Vejle at the Tour next year. Roads are simply too narrow for a full TdF peloton, while the landscape, while tough by ToD standards, is simply too easy to properly split up the peloton.
 
If crashes usually happens during the first stages in a GT then maybe swith the order of stages and coock the whole peleton on serious climbs until GC is more settled.

Or don't, because while it's never said out loud I think people maybe likes the surprise eliminations early crashes adds to a race.

Why not start punish the crashers. Three strikes and you're out lol. Especially if you cause someone else to crash.

Serious, no, but maybe a little. Maybe.
 
Imagine GC guys would crash yesterday on stage 16 in a bunch sprint related crash at the end of the stage and we would not get to live stage 17 as it was.
That would have been unfortunate, yes, but - as long as nobody was actually seriously hurt, not a total disaster.
Don't forget that stage 16 actually did see a pretty serious crash - though too early to be bunch sprint related - that saw three guys abbandon. One of them, Ciccone, was actually riding GC. Another, Molard, got a collapsed lung! (And then he rode for another 100 Ks, because pro-cyclists are crazy!), but even that I'm not classifying as a serious injury, because on the photo FDJ posted, he looked fine... for a guy with a collapsed lung...

Sometimes, I think you're putting way too much focus on the GC guys.
 
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Also with less hectic finals for the GC guys, perhaps we wouldn't have been able to get the result and action yesterday that we did, because the GC riders wouldn't have been as tired at this point in the race, meaning Bernal and Roglič wouldn't have been able to get/stay away from 60 km out.
 
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That would have been unfortunate, yes, but - as long as nobody was actually seriously hurt, not a total disaster.
Don't forget that stage 16 actually did see a pretty serious crash - though too early to be bunch sprint related - that saw three guys abbandon. One of them, Ciccone, was actually riding GC. Another, Molard, got a collapsed lung! (And then he rode for another 100 Ks, because pro-cyclists are crazy!), but even that I'm not classifying as a serious injury, because on the photo FDJ posted, he looked fine... for a guy with a collapsed lung...

Sometimes, I think you're putting way too much focus on the GC guys.
He's not interested in "the GC guys", he's interested in Roglic. And some other Slovenians, if they happen to be around. Also in being right.
 
That would have been unfortunate, yes, but - as long as nobody was actually seriously hurt, not a total disaster.
Mas said he was still affected from the crash on stage 17. A crash is a crash and will likely have some effect. A few percent is enough to be a deal breaker.

@Samu Cuenca

Nah we would still get stage 17 if the end of stage 16 would be a bit safer for GC favourites.


@BlueRoads

And what difference would it make if that would be true? But nice contribution to this debate indeed. Thank you for that.
 
Mas said he was still affected from the crash on stage 17. A crash is a crash and will likely have some effect. A few percent is enough to be a deal breaker.
Is he in the hospital? No. That's what I'm talking about; crashes that send people to the hospital.
On the flip-side, if there had been a serious crash in that finale - and it was sketchy - and someone had been seriously hurt - then it would have been equally terrible if the guy who'd been hurt had been Roglic, or if it had been Ander Okamika.
 
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@RedheadDane

Ciccone DNF and he merely crashed.

As for your general opinion and on how you perceive safety in pro cycling. That is if the safety incident does not involve a hospital it is not a safety related incident worth worrying about. I don't share that opinion at all. But feel free to have such standards. I just don't feel they should be taken seriously. It's like saying somebody had a car accident but as it didn't involve hospital it was basically not a car accident and no need to worry about such accidents. That is to try to prevent them.

@Netserk

Sorry but that is just stupid comment. Likely you are aware of that. Hence i won't insult our intelligence further.

@all

See you next time when GC guys crash at the end of a bunch sprint stage.
 
@RedheadDane

Ciccone DNF and he merely crashed.

As for your general opinion and on how you perceive safety in pro cycling. That is if the safety incident does not involve a hospital it is not a safety related incident worth worrying about. I don't share that opinion at all. But feel free to have such standards. I just don't feel they should be taken seriously. It's like saying somebody had a car accident but as it didn't involve hospital it was basically not a car accident and no need to worry about such accidents. That is to try to prevent them.

@Netserk

Sorry but that is just stupid comment. Likely you are aware of that. Hence i won't insult our intelligence further.

@all

See you next time when GC guys crash at the end of a bunch sprint stage.
Getting through sprint stages safely is also the responsibility of a GC rider. If someone else makes you crash - very bad, we all would like to avoid that, but it can happen anytime during a flat stage, often it doesn't happen during the hectic final, but during the boring parts of stages. Positioning, handling skills, constant focus - that belongs to the skills of a GC rider. If you want to avoid that at all you will not have a complete GT rider. It's road cycling, these things happen in a peloton, a bunch. They are normal in this sport. The focus really has to be on preventing, as good as possible, serious crashes that endanger people's lives or their long-term health and on avoiding crashes that can be foreseen - for instance finals where you have a 90% chance that a few guys crash - they are not necessary, they are usually just in there for money reasons, but if you choose another route it doesn't take anything away from the sportive side, whereas if you just neutralize more and more of a stage that changes the sport significantly.
 
@BlueRoads

Now yes that is much more constructive approach. If that is your opinion i am OK with it. As for you believing there are other areas where safety could improve in the peloton. I have no reason to claim otherwise. It should be rather obvious that is the case. That is on why the claims on how nothing can be done are rather strange IMHO.

But still in my opinion the end of bunch sprint stages should be reserved for sprinters and not for GC lottery. The skills you are talking about. That a genuine GC contender should posses. That can very well be demonstrated elsewhere. Hence i will continue to have an eye on this area until the mentioned situation improves. As when it will improve then i would end up talking about lighting striking the peloton anyway. And no point in doing that.
 
@Libertine Seguros

Nobody is saying otherwise. Some people are saying the only way that can be done is at the end of the bunch sprint stages. I just don't buy that. Like not at all. There GC guys should move away and give space to sprinters to do their job. GC guys had their chance before that and now it's time to move along and more importantly away if nothing came of it. They are not sprint specialists and should not be made to prove that, by hitting the floor.
 
@Libertine Seguros

Nobody is saying otherwise. Some people are saying the only way that can be done is at the end of the bunch sprint stages. I just don't buy that. Like not at all. There GC guys should move away and give space to sprinters to do their job. GC guys had their chance before that and now it's time to move along and more importantly away if nothing came of it. They are not sprint specialists and should not be made to prove that, by hitting the floor.
And what if a split develops late on or at the line? By extending the time gap needed between riders from 1 second to 3 they're already taking action to mean the GC guys don't need to be up front in the run-in. But Egan Bernal gained a few seconds a few days ago by being more attentive than his rivals at the finish and gaining time on them, and he ought to be rewarded for that, no?
 
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