Two videos captured from the side of the road have revealed the dynamic and consequences of the crashes during the finale of stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana that left Steven Kruijswijk with a fractured collarbone and other riders battered and bruised.
The stage to Lugo ended with a loop around the centre of the town in the shadow of the castle walls. Kruijswijk was the first to crash with two kilometres to go, falling at speed on the left-hand side of the road after hitting an unmarked and unprotected pole. Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) crashed into him.
An even bigger pile-up close to the final kilometre saw numerous riders go down as the road narrowed slightly and riders touched wheels, with Robert Kiserlovski amongst the most seriously affected. He got up and finished the stage with some help from teammates but the Tinkoff team confirmed he will not continue in the Vuelta a Espana due to acute pain in his lumbar-sacral vertebrae.
The race organiser issued a communique apologising for the Kruijswijk crash and said an internal investigation has been opened to find out why the obstacle was not indicated and warned about.
However the apology did little to placate the anger of some riders in the race and those watching at home. Several took to social media to vent their anger, remember that a similar unmarked and unprotected metal bollard was responsible for sparking a crash in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco that left Peter Stetina and Sergio Pardilla seriously injured.
Following the death of Antonie Demoitié in the spring and other accidents in races, the CPA riders' association has been trying to get the UCI to adopt new stricter standards for safety, including more explicit regulations for the final kilometres of races, with requirements for multiple inspections of the course before riders arrive.
The videos, published by Cicli201.com and CyclingHubTV on Twitter, highlight the dangers of racing at speed and how numerous riders managed to avoid the crash. Others were not so lucky and crashed into the barriers or went over their bikes and hit the road.