UCI will increase personnel at races to monitor safety compliance

Massive moto-caused crash at Tour of Belgium prompts investigation, more changes

The UCI on Monday announced that it will "significantly" increase the number of personnel it sends to races to monitor compliance with safety protocols. The announcement comes on the heels of a massive crash at the Tour of Belgium that caused stage 3 to be cancelled. The crash occurred when two motorbikes in the race collided in front of the peloton.

The UCI said Monday it was joining the Belgian cycling federation to investigate the circumstances that caused that incident.

The UCI is also looking into the size and power of race motos to determine how those factors have evolved in recent years and whether they are responsible for the increased number of vehicle-rider collisions.

"Safety is an absolutely vital issue for the UCI and our stakeholders, and it is crucial we do all in our power to protect the riders from unnecessary risks," UCI President Brian Cookson said in a statement released with Monday's announcement.

"We have seen too many incidents involving motorcycles, and that is why we recently adopted clear new rules governing how vehicles must be driven in races. Right now, our thoughts are with Stig Broeckx, his family, friends and teammates from Lotto Soudal."

Broeckx was the most severely injured rider in the Belgian mele, suffering a fractured eye socket, a bruised lung and bleeding in the brain from the incident, which occurred 65km into stage 3 of the race and involved 10 other riders.

Broeckx's team said the 26-year-old Belgian could require surgery to reduce intracranial pressure caused by swelling and bleeding in his brain.

The UCI has recently introduced new rules regulating the movement and operation of motorized vehicles in races and will be looking to find out if those new regulations were adhered to in the Belgium tour.

The UCI is currently finalizing, along with key stakeholders, an updated and comprehensive set of regulations and guidelines that will govern all aspects of a road race that have a bearing on safety and security, according to Monday's announcement. This will include rules limiting the number of vehicles allowed in races and how these vehicles should be positioned at different points in the race.

 

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