Crashes, what can be done?

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The way I see it, it's kind of a scale between the following two extremes:

Crashes that absolutely should not happen, and are completely the responsibility of the organisers to do everything to prevent. Schachmann at Lombardia last year springs to mind.

Crashes that are gonna happen no matter what, and are are mainly the responsibility of the riders to try to limit. All those countless little touch-of-wheels, slide-out-in-corners crashes that happen at practically every race.

And in-between those two are situations where it would probably have been hard/impossible to completely avoid crashes, but still possible to do quite a lot to make sure the outcome isn't a total disaster. I think it was the European Championship back in 2019 - definitely around that time of the year - when I noticed how basically every concrete structure along the route was covered in cushions, I think I know why; given what had happened in Poland...
 
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McEwen, after Jakobsen's crash:

“What was most disturbing to me was that when Fabio Jakobsen hit the barriers, he didn’t deflect back into the road. He went straight through them. That’s really poor planning, not just from the organisers themselves but the UCI, and they have to take responsibility for that. This is something that has been going on for years. I lobbied for it when I was racing, and I’ve been retired for eight years.

"I put forward a barrier design to both the UCI and the ASO at the same time, for exactly the circumstances like this. While things have improved at some races, a good barrier set-up has to be solid, it can’t come apart, and it’s got to be heavy. The board on the front of the barrier also has to come down at an angle and meet the road. Everything has to deflect the rider back onto the road.

"The barriers in Poland flew every which way, and it looked to me like they were made of plastic. One of them broke into pieces and that doesn’t happen with the metal ones. There’s a lot to be done in regard to safety in the last few hundred meters.”

 
Obviously if the barriers explode or fall, they won't do much to decelerate the crashing body. Effective (rather than ineffective) deceleration is better than bouncing.
F=ma. A bounce is when change of velocity is greater than the rider's velocity in the crash (because some of that speed is reversed) very quickly. A soft (but secure) surface means that the loss of speed is greater (low a, low F)
 
Better to lose your speed by sliding over the road surface than losing most of your speed when you hit the barriers. You can really tore your body and injure yourself with more devastating long term consequences -- but of course, it depends on the specific design in question.
 
Amway, it seems this year there can't be a sprint finish without crashes in the last few kms. Pretty obvious that when the trains all speed up at the same time and compete for the road that the odds will go up. So what can be done?

I think in pure and and fast sprint finishes the GC teams should just the the same time or a time at like 3kms or something. The 3km rule is good, but it's only in the even of crashes or the like. So GC teams will still have to have their train and compete for the road with the sprint teams, even if they have no wish of winning the stage, just because the don't want to lose any seconds. But in doing that the chance for crashes again goes up.
 
As for the suggestion of taking time at 3 km to go, what exactly would change with that? With the new 3 seconds rule, I don't think there ever has been any time splits with that in effect, so it's already ready the case de facto that you get the same time as the bunch you're in if you reach the 3 km to go banner. Would you then extend the 3 km rule so that crashes and punctures 6 km to go let you get the same time as the winner? Wherever you draw the line, you'd still see a battle for position until the riders reach the safe zone.

E3 is going to use new, safer barriers. They are made of an absorbent fabric, Can be filled with water/sand so the wind won't blow them away.There are also arrows on it to create a tunnel effect which would make the riders avoid the side of the road a bit more.
We didn't really get to see the effect of these barriers yet, but would Gaviria have been able to avoid a crash with those in use at the Giro?
 
As for the suggestion of taking time at 3 km to go, what exactly would change with that? With the new 3 seconds rule, I don't think there ever has been any time splits with that in effect, so it's already ready the case de facto that you get the same time as the bunch you're in if you reach the 3 km to go banner. Would you then extend the 3 km rule so that crashes and punctures 6 km to go let you get the same time as the winner? Wherever you draw the line, you'd still see a battle for position until the riders reach the safe zone.
You seperate GC riders and sprinters a lot more, for starters. So that in case there is a crash caused by a sprinter, the chance that he takes out a GC rider is a lot smaller. Now you have 2 sorts of trains: GC trains trying to keep their GC guy in front so that if there is a gap, that he doesn't lose time. And the sprint trains fighting for position for stagewin. If you take GC guys out of the equation at 3k, not only is there less of a need for GC trains to begin with (they don't have to reach the finishline in the same time as the winner anymore) but they don't get in the way of the sprint trains in the final 3k either. Less trains, less chaos, less chance of crashes, and in case there is a crash, less chance that it involves a GC guy.

Doesn't have to be 3K, could be 5K.
 
If you took times at 3km, you’d have GC teams doing stupid things to avoid gaps at 3km and then chaos as they are moved past by every sprinter team.
I don't think it would be that bad.

A lot of splits in the final 3 kilometers are because of the sprint teams drilling the pace.

The chance for splits 4km to go would be smaller than on the last km (because the sprint teams don't go all in yet) so the GC teams wouldn't be so desperate to do "stupid things" IMO.
 
Can anyone show me a time split in the peloton ever happening with the new 3'' rule in effect?

Now you have 2 sorts of trains: GC trains trying to keep their GC guy in front so that if there is a gap, that he doesn't lose time.
Sure, back when only 1'' was needed for a time split. But (afaik) there has literally never been any time splits with the new 3'' rule. There are no gaps, thus no risk to lose time. It is already the case then that GC riders can stay away from the front in the last 3 km today.

And you would still see the exact same behaviour leading into the last 3 km as you see today.
 
Jul 2, 2019
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Sure, back when only 1'' was needed for a time split. But (afaik) there has literally never been any time splits with the new 3'' rule. There are no gaps, thus no risk to lose time. It is already the case then that GC riders can stay away from the front in the last 3 km today.

And you would still see the exact same behaviour leading into the last 3 km as you see today.
I mean, literally the best option would be the GC teams to decide among themselves to neutralize the arms race of joining the leadout fun and games and let the sprint guys do the work. Not sure if the "patron" system really exists anymore, though.
 
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Can anyone show me a time split in the peloton ever happening with the new 3'' rule in effect?


Sure, back when only 1'' was needed for a time split. But (afaik) there has literally never been any time splits with the new 3'' rule. There are no gaps, thus no risk to lose time. It is already the case then that GC riders can stay away from the front in the last 3 km today.

And you would still see the exact same behaviour leading into the last 3 km as you see today.
No you wouldn't see the same behaviour, because in order to be at the front (main group) at the finish, requires a different effort at 3k from the finish, than being at the front (main group) at 3k from the finish.

But if you think the timesplits aren't the reason GC teams get involved, then why do you think they get involved?
 
Sure, back when only 1'' was needed for a time split. But (afaik) there has literally never been any time splits with the new 3'' rule. There are no gaps, thus no risk to lose time. It is already the case then that GC riders can stay away from the front in the last 3 km today.
There haven't been many instances when they were gaps but it doesn't mean there couldn't have been. 3 seconds is not that much. If you don't push 100% in the last 3kms and someone else will, you can easily end up with 3+ seconds gap. 3 seconds rule only makes it less likely for gaps to appear if everybody is pushing hard enough to stay on the wheel of the guy in front. But if you're too far back, you might find yourself behind guys who don't bother to push anymore and you lose time.
 
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