Tour de France: Perichon crash highlights safety improvements - Video

Air bags shielding road furniture helped prevent serious injury

A crash into some road furniture in the middle of the course on stage 4 of the Tour de France from Pierre-Luc Perichon (Cofidis) could have been much worse, had it not been for an air bag placed by race organisers in front of a low road sign.

Perichon was mid-pack when the peloton approached the dangers, the first of which was had a flagman whistling the alert. But as the peloton began to close again, there was a second median. Despite a CCC Team rider pointing out the obstacle, Perichon missed the signal and ran straight into the airbag, tumbling headfirst onto the island behind it.

Similar incidents in the past have led to grievous injury: Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) suffered a fractured tibia and patella and Sergio Pardilla a head and shoulder injury when they hit an unprotected bollard in the final kilometre of the 2015 Tour of the Basque Country.

The next year, Steven Kruijswijk hit a similarly unprotected post in the finale of stage 5 of the Vuelta a España, breaking his collarbone and abandoning the race.

The incidents led the riders' association (CPA) to call for increased safety plan and the UCI to institute new recommendations for course design and movement in the convoy.

The on-board video posted by Velon is one of the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of safety measures. Perichon finished the stage 46 seconds down on winner Elia Viviani.

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