Riders angry after high-speed Basque Country crash

Four riders in hospital, others injured after hitting metal pole in finishing straight

As the full list of riders injured in the crash at the Tour of the Basque Country emerges, the anger of the riders in the race and around the world has swelled, with the UCI, the race organiser and the riders'’ Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) under pressure to take a stance and improve rider safety.

According to the El Diario Vasco newspaper in the Basque Country, four riders were taken to hospital after riders hit a series of metal poles as they entered the finishing straight at high speed and began sprinting to the line.

The USA's Pete Stetina (BMC) was diagnosed with fractures to his tibia, kneecap and four ribs. According the race organisers' medical bulletin, Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural), Frenchman Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Britain's Adam Yates (Orica GreenEdge) were also taken to hospital. A fifth rider, Frenchman Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (FDJ) was taken to hospital after a crash mid-race. Several other riders also crashed and were treated at the scene or by their teams. These included Mikel Landa (Astana), Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin) and José Herrada (Movistar).

Pardilla was the worst injured, with the race doctors reporting he suffered a head trauma, haemoptysis (coughing up blood), a fractured shoulder and a fractured left wrist. He will remain in hospital, under observation for 48 hours. Adam Yates fractured a bone in his right hand and announced he was out of the race via Twitter on Tuesday morning. Edet suffered fracture at the end of his left clavicle and to a rib.

Riders took to social media to vent their anger about the crash, revealing what happened or how they were lucky to avoid hitting the medal poles, which were covered by just a plastic traffic cone.

Philippe Gilbert tweeted: “I was very lucky today! I rode 10cm away from this pole in the final! Big fault of the organization! Hope @peterstetina and all the guys are ok."

The Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists retweeted several reactions and published photos of metal poles and of the peloton about to hit as the sprint began.

"500m to go, peloton charging at the bollards. No barrier, no warning in the road book, & now no @AmgenTOC for Stetina" ANAPRC tweeted.

Alberto Contador retweeted a message from Fran Ventoso of Movistar: "Estoy indignado, a nadie le importa el ciclista?Donde están los que nos tienen que defender y revisar recorridos? - I'm outraged, does nobody care about cyclist? Where are those who defend us and review race routes?"

The Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) called on the riders at the Tour of the Basque Country to protest about what happened by delaying the start of Tuesday stage by five minutes. As a result the riders avoided any pre-race ceremonies and the stage started five minutes later than scheduled.

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