Crashes, what can be done?

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Even if the GC riders weren't there, there would still be crashes.
Likely. But after it's down to specialists. Specialists that tend to know what they are doing and do train for it. Rules like penalty for endangerment, due to deviating from the line, that should help too. And lets not forget this last couple of km's are usually in some town or village. As the district invested money in the race and for sure they want the spectacle in the narrowest part. It's a sprint but hey lets bring the whole bunch!

And how do you decide who the GC riders are anyway? Would Wout Van Aert be allowed to be near the front? He sometimes does both...
Sure, why not. It's not like it would be illegal. If you have interest. Like lets say to win a stage. Go for it. As GC battle would already be decided by then, hence he could take the advantage from potential crosswinds situation too.

But can you give me just one example of a serious crash caused by GC riders being near the front during sprint stages? And by "serious" I don't mean "someone lost a bit of time", I mean serious injury, or even death.
Just read what Tony said. Somewhere in the lines of if you are doing 50km/h or up on a bike and you crash ... It's serious business. If you don't believe it put on some protective equipment on and try to crash with a bike doing 5km/h. You will get the point after.

P.S. Just don't do it for real as you will get injured.
 
Personally i am going to wait for the next season and will judge after. That is if i will get the impression they actually did something useful in this area or not. Or if instead they went skiing during the winter and nothing got done.

What i know is if they will repeat what they did on TDF 2021. Then the *** will hit the went.
 
I still think too many of you overlook the causal link of less danger, higher speeds.

I do see things that could be changed to make racing a bit more safe - like harder sanctions when sprinters deviate from their line, and less dangerous turns, especially at the end of races (why does the UCI keep accepting the hazardous routes in Croatia?). But most other suggestions - nah, it just makes it easier for the riders, and then they'll just push even more = ride at a higher risk.
 
Just read what Tony said. Somewhere in the lines of if you are doing 50km/h or up on a bike and you crash ... It's serious business. If you don't believe it put on some protective equipment on and try to crash with a bike doing 5km/h. You will get the point after.
Still doesn't change the fact that the vast majority - if not all - serious crashes in recent years happened in all other situations than "GC riders being too close to the front during the finale of sprint stages."
Here are just a few examples:
Evenepoel, Il Lombardia: Crashed on a descent, and since it's a one-day race there was obviously no GC riders involved
Jakobsen, Tour de Pologne: Happened during a sprint, yes. But GC riders were nowhere involved.
Lambrecht, Tour de Pologne: From what I understand, he crashed because he hit a reflector in the road and then - as unfortunate as you can be - hit a concrete structure by the road with his torso.
Broeckx, Tour of Belgium: Crash caused by dangerous driving by race motos.
Demoitie, Gent-Wevelgem: Hit by race moto after a crash. Unsure what caused the initial crash, but definitely no GC riders involved.
Boeckmans, Vuelta a Espana: Crash happened during a calm part of the race, possibly because he was getting something to drink.
Mauricio Soler, Tour de Suisse: Crashed on a descent.
Weylandt, Giro d'Italia: Crashed on a descent.

It's true. Introduction of helmet is the last thing that likely improved safety a bit. The rest was more or less a joke.
You think implementing better barriers is a joke? Of course it would be nice if it was done quicker - during the Women's Elite race at the Worlds Rolf Sørensen and Christina Siggaard was talking about why they were even using those barriers with the potruding feet at all - but the fact is that something is being done.
Or what about the increased focus on education for the people driving the race motos? Of course, shouldn't have taken a death, and another guy almost dying.
Or putting padding on things riders could potentially hit after a crash?
 
Still doesn't change the fact that the vast majority - if not all - serious crashes in recent years happened in all other situations than "GC riders being too close to the front during the finale of sprint stages."
It may also be worth noting that one of the major things that has caused serious (for this I see it as career threatening) injuries to GC contenders in Grand Tours or preparation races in the last five years has been crashing on Time Trial bikes (Froome, Valverde, and also Van Aert and Lopez to a lesser extent if you add in super domestiques). I know UCI rules on bike design are often spoken about as a joke in the press and some kind of unjustifiable brake on the engineering 'brilliance' of the major bike brands, but this seems to be an obvious area where having rules in place that ensure that bikes handle well enough to stay upright probably has stopped more crashes happening, and also perhaps somewhere where more can be done still.
 
It may also be worth noting that one of the major things that has caused serious (for this I see it as career threatening) injuries to GC contenders in Grand Tours or preparation races in the last five years has been crashing on Time Trial bikes (Froome, Valverde, and also Van Aert and Lopez to a lesser extent if you add in super domestiques). I know UCI rules on bike design are often spoken about as a joke in the press and some kind of unjustifiable brake on the engineering 'brilliance' of the major bike brands, but this seems to be an obvious area where having rules in place that ensure that bikes handle well enough to stay upright probably has stopped more crashes happening, and also perhaps somewhere where more can be done still.
I really like that thought, time trial bikes and the building of the bikes in general are a bit overlooked when it comes to crashes.

I also liked the idea (don't know who suggested that), that you should have raced U23 for some time as a "qualification". One might think more in that direction, what can be done to improve the bike handling skills and experience of inexperienced riders, a certain mandatory step system or something like special preparation races - I think it might be a problem that especially the younger, more inexperienced riders are often sent to smaller races where the safety is not as good as it's usually at the biggest ones.
Also maybe at least one winter of cross or a summer of mtb should be mandatory... :)

I don't know, I'm just going bonkers here, but I'm serious about the general idea: I am really sceptical about more and more riders skipping the U23, more people coming in directly from other sports or Zwift (some like Roglic might have extraordinary balance, but that doesn't make them necessarily good in a peloton, and others don't even have great balance, they just have the watts)... and I think something should be done to counter that, to give those riders more experience on the bike and on the road.

The list RedheadDane made, though, shows that sometimes it's just really, really bad luck: like Lambrecht :(, although, maybe, but only very maybe, it wouldn't have happened so "easily" to a more experienced rider; and then descents are a problem - but would we want races without descents or only with descents that don't require any technical skill at all? At one point you just have to accept that this is a dangerous sport, just like horseback riding (which, I think, is more dangerous by the way). In the end everyone has to decide for themselves if they want to take the risk.

The biggest problem in my eyes are not the races though. It's the training, where so many bad crashes and accidents happen, usually with cars involved. I don't really have a short-term solution for that problem.
 
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The biggest problem in my eyes are not the races though. It's the training, where so many bad crashes and accidents happen, usually with cars involved. I don't really have a short-term solution for that problem.
I think this maybe results in a bit of a catch 22, being able to train better and more effectively indoors will make training significantly safer (obviously) but will result in being 'untrained' when it comes to bike handling, awareness and reaction speed which may lead to worse safety when it comes to race day.

I wonder a lot if the concept of 'match fitness' in football might be useful here - ie. when a footballer is returning from injury or a spell on the sidelines they will often play some games with the reserves or U21 teams in order to get themselves prepared to play first team games again, as there is an acceptance that there are certain things about a competitive game and going through the preparation for one that cannot be replicated in training. I think some requirement for racing small races to prepare for a grand tour or major classic (which tend to be a lot more hectic) could be considered in the same way to mitigate for less outdoor training (although even that maybe can't make up for race experience) and when riders have significant time away from races.
 
@RedheadDane

I said on multiple occasions i am OK if other people put more emphasise to other areas. Instead of lets say repeating some phrase like nothing can be done.

As for general feel i will side with Tony for now. In the last decade zilch was done and TDF 2021 exposed that.

As season 2021 is over people involved must do some work in this area during the winter. As if they plan to sell us the same "nothing can be done" story in the case of a new fiasco. I personally don't believe they will be able to do that. They did got away with it at TDF 2021 but i wouldn't count on that the next time anymore.

I personally will stick with the end of bunch sprint stages. As i perceive them as a flaw in the system. Other people can put more emphasise in other areas. I have no problem with that.
 
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@CyclistAbi, sure... focus on the serious crashes - however rare they are - caused specifically by GC riders being near the front during finales of sprint stages. It's your weird focus on GC riders losing time I take issue with. Seriously, if there was a big pileup, who'd give a *** if a GC rider lost time?
Besides, you don't really have a solution. All you can come up with is neutralising stages, sometimes from ridiculously far out.

As for nothing being done; sure, it might feel like that - especially if you're in the thick of it - but that doesn't make it true.
I already provided several examples of things that have been done.

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During - eh... one of the races this week... the commentator mentioned that a while ago, someone suggested tying helium ballooons to road furniture, so it could be seen from a distance. What a brilliant idea! Because riders crashing into road furniture is actually an issue, and also something there has been increased focus on trying to prevent.
 
Still doesn't change the fact that the vast majority - if not all - serious crashes in recent years happened in all other situations than "GC riders being too close to the front during the finale of sprint stages."
Here are just a few examples:
Evenepoel, Il Lombardia: Crashed on a descent, and since it's a one-day race there was obviously no GC riders involved
Jakobsen, Tour de Pologne: Happened during a sprint, yes. But GC riders were nowhere involved.
Lambrecht, Tour de Pologne: From what I understand, he crashed because he hit a reflector in the road and then - as unfortunate as you can be - hit a concrete structure by the road with his torso.
Broeckx, Tour of Belgium: Crash caused by dangerous driving by race motos.
Demoitie, Gent-Wevelgem: Hit by race moto after a crash. Unsure what caused the initial crash, but definitely no GC riders involved.
Boeckmans, Vuelta a Espana: Crash happened during a calm part of the race, possibly because he was getting something to drink.
Mauricio Soler, Tour de Suisse: Crashed on a descent.
Weylandt, Giro d'Italia: Crashed on a descent.



You think implementing better barriers is a joke? Of course it would be nice if it was done quicker - during the Women's Elite race at the Worlds Rolf Sørensen and Christina Siggaard was talking about why they were even using those barriers with the potruding feet at all - but the fact is that something is being done.
Or what about the increased focus on education for the people driving the race motos? Of course, shouldn't have taken a death, and another guy almost dying.
Or putting padding on things riders could potentially hit after a crash?
I've been a proponent of better risk marking like was visible on most of the Vuelta descents. Added signage gave much more warning.
As a counter: everyone knew the risks and the course at Lombardia and still lot's of guys crashed on descents. I did not notice any emphasis signage or lighting but was only able to view highlights. I'd love someone's input that saw the entire race.
There is a mixture of awareness, safety measures and common sense that riders need to have. Number one and number three on the list are the team's responsibility in my opinion: make sure your riders know what they're facing. Number two should be the Promoters, riders' representatives and teams; in that order. If the promoters don't take prudent steps the riders need to sit down more often until the team management forces the promoters hands. God knows the teams don't fight that well.
 
There was a lot of talk some time ago about tramadol, and possibly other, medications being used as prophylactic analgesics that are not banned. I spend very little time at the clinic, but it that still considered to be an issue? These were performance enhancing, but essentially makes the body tell the legs to shut up, as Voigt would have it, but they also were thought to affect reaction times

If it is, is there a case for some kind of reactions test shortly before the start, on a small, randomly selected, group of riders?

If they can't press a button quickly enough (or whatever the test might be), they can't be expected to react quickly enough to issues they might encounter on the road. It doesn't have to be labelled or treated as a doping issue, no sanctions, just a rider declared not fit to start.
On occasion it will remove a rider who might be a hazard to those around him, but given that teams won't want to lose riders immediately before the start, it might put an end to use of such meds.

I don't imagine it would happen, but if it did, it might make a difference.
 
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