Tom Boonen has weighed in on the debate surrounding race vehicles, arguing that the peloton would be safer with more – rather than fewer – vehicles around.
The issue has intensified once again following a terrible crash on stage 3 of the Belgium Tour last weekend, where two motorbikes collided and veered into the bunch of riders. A total of 11 riders were taken to hospital, the most severely affected being Lotto Soudal's Stig Broeckx, who suffered head injuries and remains in a coma.
A string of similar incidents in the last couple of years has triggered urgent calls for measures to improve rider safety, with one line of argument being that there are simply too many in-race vehicles nowadays. Boonen, however, a veteran of the peloton, sought to flip that logic.
"If there are more vehicles, they don't have to punch past the peloton so often," reasoned the Etixx-QuickStep rider, speaking to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
"The problem now is that they are very agitated. The traffic must be regulated ahead of the peloton. If not, then this can not go on any longer."
Vehicles, from TV and photography motorbikes to medical and commissaire cars, constantly move through races in accordance with the changing situation on the road.
"Having more vehicles would take away the time pressure," argued Boonen. "Passing the peloton itself is not dangerous – not if done at the right moment. The problem is that it is often forced to happen at a time when it is not appropriate for the riders.
"Having more vehicles is a measure that is easy to find, which does little to change the race, and which makes it much less stressful for the drivers."