The opening stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China was affected by a huge crash after a spectator walked across the road just two kilometres from the finish of the stage in Xining.
The crash again highlights the need for better safety and crowd control at races after the debacle at the Tour de France when crowds and race motorbikes sparked a crash that saw Chris Froome, Bauke Mollema and Richie Porte crash, with further riders delayed. Froome opted to run through the crowd to limit his losses but was fortunate to be given the same time as his rivals by race judges in an unprecedented ruling.
Video footage shows the man cross the road in the city of Xining, thinking he can make it before the peloton arrives. However he is hit by some of the riders at the front of the peloton, causing a huge high-speed pile-up.
The stage was won by former Colombia team rider Miguel Angel Rubiano (China Continental Team of Gansu Bank), who like a fortunate few, managed to void the crash and its consequences. Italy's Daniele Colli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) finished second.
"I was working for Nicolas Marini but then there was a crash. It didn’t involve him but took him out of the sprint. At that point it was up to me. I tried to go early but Rubiano got past me in the final metres," Colli said in a press release by his Italian team.
According to a Tweet by Australian rider Nathan Elliott, the man who crossed the road and sparked the crash was detained by Chinese police.
Photographs show that dozen of riders were caught up in the crash, with Italy's Antonio Viola (Nippo Vini Fantini) apparently suffering a fractured wrist and Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Androni Giocattoli) possibly fracturing his collarbone. Other riders suffered road rash but are set to continue in the tough Chinese stage race that is held at an altitude largely above 2000 metres.
Monday's stage two is from Xining to Datong with a climb on the testing finishing circuit.
FYI walking in front of a bunch at 2km to go doing 75kmh for a pic is not a good idea !!! One of the worst crashes I have seen! #TDQL2016â Nathan Elliott (@n_sumo23) July 17, 2016