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Crashes, what can be done?

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I posted this on the Basque Tour thread, but I think here's a better place for it..

I'm my opinion, the two crashes in the last two weeks were caused by this obsession with 'needing to be a the front to be out of trouble'. It was never the case 10/15 years ago. Last week's crash was because everyone wanted to be near the front before a climb 80km to go in a semi classic, like seriously if you are a few positions out of position before climb 80km out, it isn't a big deal. But commentators and riders constantly talk about 'having to be at the front'. Heck, in TA, Vingegaard was wasting so much energy riding literally in 2nd wheel before sprints. It's unnecessary and has been over overexagerated way to much by sports directors and commontators, and the two crashes in question are a result of this IMO.
Honestly, remove team radios and only have a neutral race radio. That way you don't have a ds screaming into every rider's ear to stay near the front. I feel that could already calm things down a lot.

Frankly the fighting for positions has just gotten a bit out of control and is to blame for many crashes, but very few riders, let alone teams, will admit it.
 

'But what about the cyclists and their injuries :('

 
It sure didn’t look like it the way they were riding 3 or 4 abreast. Usually if someone attcks a descent it will string things out.
Good point, but judging by the comments from the other local riders it's a known dangerous descent. The speed might not have been high but it was too high for that particular descent. One of the local riders (can't remember who?) said he slowed down and dropped back before the corner as he knew what was going to happen entering it at that speed
 
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I think there should be 2 to 3 motorbikes with a traffic officer at the back, who can gesture with his arms towards the peloton or small pelotons that there is now a sharp turn. The motorcycles must be 100 meters in front of the peloton or the pelotons. It is not necessary for individual riders or small groups of up to 5 riders, as there is greater maneuverability for them in a turn.
Something has to change......Its too risky now!
 
Great, self critical interview of Pello Bilbao indeed with this part being the key take away: 'creo que nosotros tenemos que reflexionar como propios ciclistas porque quizas somos lo que creiamos lo peligro'. I would like to say 'there's not a word Spanish in there but that wouldn't be true.
Which means that the "riders are creating the danger". Which is in line with what other forum members are saying. There is a lot of anxiety about being at the front all the time, sometimes going too fast, and other times riding too tight one against the other.
 
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Sad news. Looked like an ubiquitous albeit very deceptive corner. Hard to pinpoint the exact cause but the riders on the outside misjudged the tightening right hand bend and ran out of road. Naturally the tendency is to follow the wheel of the rider in front of you so when one rider got it wrong a few others ended up in big trouble - including three leading TdF contenders. But noteworthy that the lead rider did nothing wrong and negotiated the bend without issue.

Perhaps such dangerous sections of road need to be scouted by the organizers and deemed neutral ? But that will negate opportunities to attack which is part of the sport?
 
Great, self critical interview of Pello Bilbao indeed with this part being the key take away: 'creo que nosotros tenemos que reflexionar como propios ciclistas porque quizas somos lo que creiamos lo peligro'. I would like to say 'there's not a word Spanish in there but that wouldn't be true.
Adam Hansen, Matteo Jorgenson and the Visma PR team will be on the line to get him to retract this urgently, I suspect. Need to present a united front. But it's absolutely correct. There are lessons to be learned by organisers, sure (the suggestion of using hay bales to fill the culvert is a convenient and inexpensive solution, for example), but the riders can't just expect to go full gas everywhere on modern bikes and not have to accept any risk, or not to have to share some of the blame if something happens. Jorgenson's posts about the Arenberg chicane basically castigate anybody that thinks it's a bad idea (even those who agree with the principle of slowing riders down into it but dislike the mooted solution or doubt its efficacy) as ghouls who want to see riders get injured "because if we go full gas then people will get hurt". Of course, the assumption is that riders have not just the right but the obligation to go full gas and can't possibly make judgement calls about levels of risk themselves. That attitude - that the onus is entirely on the organisers to provide safety - is as dangerous as almost anything the organisers can do.
 
I think there should be 2 to 3 motorbikes with a traffic officer at the back, who can gesture with his arms towards the peloton or small pelotons that there is now a sharp turn. The motorcycles must be 100 meters in front of the peloton or the pelotons. It is not necessary for individual riders or small groups of up to 5 riders, as there is greater maneuverability for them in a turn.
Something has to change......Its too risky now!
for real??? :tearsofjoy: :rolleyes:
 
Good point, but judging by the comments from the other local riders it's a known dangerous descent. The speed might not have been high but it was too high for that particular descent. One of the local riders (can't remember who?) said he slowed down and dropped back before the corner as he knew what was going to happen entering it at that speed
Well, the other thing is the lack of selectivity in the race. Both the lack of significant obstacles reducing the péloton size and that the pace on the climb was low, meaning more riders were in a pack there. A descent that is safe for riders in groups of 10 and a descent that is safe for an entire péloton is different.

Just like how the Danish sprint finishes in the 2012 Giro were fine for the Danmark Rundt's péloton of 110-120 riders across WT, PT and Conti standards used to northern European racing, but were incredibly dangerous for 200 WT riders including a bunch of climbers and mountain stagehunters and domestiques not used to Danish racing.
 
I'm a race organiser in another sport, which also has its fatalities, sadly. I've also been a health and ssafety manager for 30 years, so I'm used to looking at risks and mitigation. I looked at that corner today and the concrete culvert and my first thought was Lambrecht. My second thought was.... fill it with hay bales ffs.

My first thoughts also were of Lambrecht when I saw that culvert

Cyclists will take risks , they are young , fit and battling to win. We will never be able to stop them taking risks .

Therefore we have to mitigate the risks as best we can for them. I was angry today as I thought that corner could have been made safer

If any rider had hit their head we might be morning another loss

Also agreed with Skjelmose ...the race not being hard enough meant there was so many riders battling on the descent when ordinarly a smaller bunch would have been expected. It doesn't matter how good you are if a rider beside you is not very experienced
 
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Good point, but judging by the comments from the other local riders it's a known dangerous descent. The speed might not have been high but it was too high for that particular descent. One of the local riders (can't remember who?) said he slowed down and dropped back before the corner as he knew what was going to happen entering it at that speed
Yes, you’re right —think it was Bilbao.
 
The most important thing is not talked enough.
A ##ucking good route!! Try to avoid easy stages, specially in the first two days! Every stage race should start with a prologue/TT or a hilly profile (specially in the middle of the stage) to establish a hierarchy. This will put every rider in his place and discourage weak teams to be at the front (or trying to be at the front). Other thing very important is fatigue! All riders want to show a good performance and they are excited and nervous when they are full of energy (first 2 stages). If we put hilly stages, climbs will tire a lot of riders and they won't have the same energy in the upcoming stages.
Crashes in GT's are normally in the first week. At least Giro and Tour this year have good routes to avoid crashes in the first week.
 
Just bad for the sport. The organization should have warned the teams, who should have averted their riders of the peril ahead. All that technology to no avail.
What exactly were they supposed to warn them?

"Just so you guys know, there's a corner up ahead which might be a bit bumpy. It's a nondescript right-hander with no adverse features on a road which is plenty wide enough, but if you are going way too fast for the descent then there's not much run-off and it's potentially pretty grim if you miss the corner. We've put a yellow caution sign up before it."

The riders were going too fast for the descent, and because the race had been less selective (because of a combination of a less selective parcours and the péloton going slow on the climb) there was a bigger péloton than might ordinarily be expected on a descent of that nature".

Could the organisers have done more about the culvert and the boulders? Definitely. Was the fact the crash occurred the organisers' fault? Absolutely not. Whenever any of these issues come up, the assumption is always that the organisers are to blame, but riders have to actually shoulder some responsibility for the risks that they take sometimes. This was just a racing incident, but because of a few other high profile incidents in recent history, emotions are running high and tempers flaring.
 
The most important thing is not talked enough.
A ##ucking good route!! Try to avoid easy stages, specially in the first two days! Every stage race should start with a prologue/TT or a hilly profile (specially in the middle of the stage) to establish a hierarchy. This will put every rider in his place and discourage weak teams to be at the front (or trying to be at the front). Other thing very important is fatigue! All riders want to show a good performance and they are excited and nervous when they are full of energy (first 2 stages). If we put hilly stages, climbs will tire a lot of riders and they won't have the same energy in the upcoming stages.
Crashes in GT's are normally in the first week. At least Giro and Tour this year have good routes to avoid crashes in the first week.
It's almost like there's a reason some of us are critical of a lot of race routes!
 
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If Jonas was warned directly and ignored the warnings then he has to take some culpability. If Jonas was warned indirectly and the message was not passed on to him by the team or whoever then that's irresponsible. And if Jonas wasn't warned and somebody is lying to try to gain clout off of their pronouncements after the fact then that's ghoulish.
"Safe Cycling" is a company which makes money from selling crash barriers to races, so this is a golden opportunity for some free advertisement. I would honestly take this with a pinch of salt - also because the route for 2024 was presented after the start of the season. And no one really does Itzulia recons months in advance.
 
Good point, but judging by the comments from the other local riders it's a known dangerous descent. The speed might not have been high but it was too high for that particular descent. One of the local riders (can't remember who?) said he slowed down and dropped back before the corner as he knew what was going to happen entering it at that speed
That would have been Bilbao. He knew this was a dangerous descent with weird humps caused by the underlying treeroots. (If you replay the crash, you can clearly see both Vingegaard and the Trek rider crashing at the exact same time but at different places, which kind of corroborates this for me.)
It's almost like there's a reason some of us are critical of a lot of race routes!
Yep to both Peyroteo and yourself. Try to have at least somewhat of a difference in GC as soon as possible.
It thins out the herd while simultaneously inviting for a more attractive GC battle.

In the same interview btw, Bilbao also seems to point at the overly aggressive way the peleton rides, be it by their own choice or by DS's instructions. We all know they won't change. It's a race: everybody wants to win and you can't expect anybody to back down (first) in such a competitive environment. So change the circumstances. Changing courses so there's a already a GC selection early on in multiple-stage races seems like the most elegant solution to me by far.
 
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After seeing the footage live, I’m shocked there are no worse injuries yet. This may be able to go down as a very bad but not truly dark crash.

My take…

I wish there was a solution for crashes. It would be amazing, but it is not realistic to expect barriers for all 160k+ of every race and every part of every corner, and we saw today barriers aren’t perfect (could’ve been placed better but still, riders saw them which means they should be extra cautious).

Even then, when riders are warned about every corner then they’re really warned about no corners, think about it. There are also a nearly infinite number of perfectly visible areas someone could decapitate themselves or fly off a mountain in almost every race.

In my opinion, the biggest issue is too many riders riding too aggressively when nothing is at stake. A peloton of 160 riders blasting 3 wide down a winding descent with 80k to go when the race isn’t on is both dangerous and unnecessary. And by the time the race is on, the peloton has thinned out and crashes like this only involve 1 or 2 riders rather than massive pileups. It may be true some riders were crashing independently today, but there is no way it would have been this bad in a thinned out group.

Sometimes there just isn’t anyone to blame. The organizers could’ve been better, but they don’t get credit for the dozens of other things they did that went right, and it’s impossible to be perfect. The riders and DS’s could’ve been better and maybe certain things need to change in racing culture in certain ways, but at the end of the day it’s a bike race and there’s risk in taking part in this sport.
 
After seeing the footage live, I’m shocked there are no worse injuries yet. This may be able to go down as a very bad but not truly dark crash.

My take…

I wish there was a solution for crashes. It would be amazing, but it is not realistic to expect barriers for all 160k+ of every race and every part of every corner, and we saw today barriers aren’t perfect (could’ve been placed better but still, riders saw them which means they should be extra cautious).

Even then, when riders are warned about every corner then they’re really warned about no corners, think about it. There are also a nearly infinite number of perfectly visible areas someone could decapitate themselves or fly off a mountain in almost every race.

In my opinion, the biggest issue is too many riders riding too aggressively when nothing is at stake. A peloton of 160 riders blasting 3 wide down a winding descent with 80k to go when the race isn’t on is both dangerous and unnecessary. And by the time the race is on, the peloton has thinned out and crashes like this only involve 1 or 2 riders rather than massive pileups. It may be true some riders were crashing independently today, but there is no way it would have been this bad in a thinned out group.

Sometimes there just isn’t anyone to blame. The organizers could’ve been better, but they don’t get credit for the dozens of other things they did that went right, and it’s impossible to be perfect. The riders and DS’s could’ve been better and maybe certain things need to change in racing culture in certain ways, but at the end of the day it’s a bike race and there’s risk in taking part in this sport.
You're correct on the aggression and I think it was Bilbao that said the course wasn't hard enough to reduce numbers or their agitation to push.

As for no one to blame: I still suggest the organizers look at how much time elapsed showing a breakaway rider narrowly crashing on live broadcast and then rejoining the break with a gap over 2 minutes to the pursuing field. They have all kinds of communication that could have occurred during that period to emphasize the approaching risk!
This is where the officials on the road should have and use a command frequency to all DS vehicles to announce those situations. The DS's can then shut down their riders. If the riders don't adhere to those safety warnings they've got no one to complain to except maybe the families of the injured or deceased. That's been the constant stated defense of having comms on every rider but the only thing they seem to hear: "push to the front....GET TO THE FRONT!" Absolutely no shock these large bunch shunts continue.
 
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I posted this on the Basque Tour thread, but I think here's a better place for it..

I'm my opinion, the two crashes in the last two weeks were caused by this obsession with 'needing to be a the front to be out of trouble'. It was never the case 10/15 years ago. Last week's crash was because everyone wanted to be near the front before a climb 80km to go in a semi classic, like seriously if you are a few positions out of position before climb 80km out, it isn't a big deal. But commentators and riders constantly talk about 'having to be at the front'. Heck, in TA, Vingegaard was wasting so much energy riding literally in 2nd wheel before sprints. It's unnecessary and has been over overexagerated way to much by sports directors and commontators, and the two crashes in question are a result of this IMO.
I posted this on Vingo's thread and Itzulia and totally agree:
You're correct on the aggression and I think it was Bilbao that said the course wasn't hard enough to reduce numbers or their agitation to push.

As for no one to blame: I still suggest the organizers look at how much time elapsed showing a breakaway rider narrowly crashing on live broadcast and then rejoining the break with a gap over 2 minutes to the pursuing field. They have all kinds of communication that could have occurred during that period to emphasize the approaching risk!
This is where the officials on the road should have and use a command frequency to all DS vehicles to announce those situations. The DS's can then shut down their riders. If the riders don't adhere to those safety warnings they've got no one to complain to except maybe the families of the injured or deceased. That's been the constant stated defense of having comms on every rider but the only thing they seem to hear: "push to the front....GET TO THE FRONT!" Absolutely no shock these large bunch shunts continue.

This is also a natural result of increased broadcast coverage and the need for every team to get their jersey on the screen. Sponsorships frequently reward the teams and the riders for brand exposure so there is that influence at work. Generally, though; the riders are on direct orders from the team cars and the sort of riding you see is the responsibility of the directors of each team, PERIOD. The course safety and communication about it rests completely on the promoters and officials for the race. There are so many eyes on the road it seems hard to imagine they can't alert the event to suddenly occurring sh*t. Riders getting sketchy on a wide, straight road...now there's where the Rider's association might have a word. Oh wait, they just complain about things afterward. Nevermind.
 
You're correct on the aggression and I think it was Bilbao that said the course wasn't hard enough to reduce numbers or their agitation to push.

As for no one to blame: I still suggest the organizers look at how much time elapsed showing a breakaway rider narrowly crashing on live broadcast and then rejoining the break with a gap over 2 minutes to the pursuing field. They have all kinds of communication that could have occurred during that period to emphasize the approaching risk!
This is where the officials on the road should have and use a command frequency to all DS vehicles to announce those situations. The DS's can then shut down their riders. If the riders don't adhere to those safety warnings they've got no one to complain to except maybe the families of the injured or deceased. That's been the constant stated defense of having comms on every rider but the only thing they seem to hear: "push to the front....GET TO THE FRONT!" Absolutely no shock these large bunch shunts continue.
The problem then is that most of the DSes would then advise their riders... to get to the front so that they can choose their line into the now-perceived-as-dangerous corner and be in front of any potential pile-up. It's an unfortunate consequence of a pack sport, as the safest place is the front but because everybody knows that the most dangerous place to be is just behind the front where everybody is fighting for position and driving the speed up.

And even then, a rider makes a mistake and has an accident - or narrowly avoids one - that doesn't automatically mean "goddamn, major danger ahead - better alert DSes urgently" because a rider having an accident on their own could just as easily be a lapse of concentration, or just a poor line into the corner, carrying too much speed, etc. etc.. Markel Beloki is a neo-pro, they could perceive that he could just as easily have got over-eager in a break and made a mistake that the veterans of the bunch wouldn't.