ANAPRC calls for updated UCI course-safety regulations after Qatar crash
The Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists (ANAPRC) today criticized the UCI over what it believes are inadequate course-safety regulations and enforcement. The statements were made on Twitter following a dramatic crash that took place in the final kilometre of stage 2 at the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday.
The crash happened with 400 metres to go during the final sprint. The peloton hugged the side of a median on the road because of strong crosswinds and when there was a gap in the median - reportedly an unprotected left turn lane - some of the riders moved into the gap, and some ended up touching wheels and crashing, trying to avoid hitting the next section of the median and road signs.
The last few kilometres of the course had no barriers along the sides of the road to prevent riders from changing course or riding in between median gaps. Riders who went down in the crash included Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18), Graeme Brown (Drapac) and best young rider jersey wearer Søren Kragh Andersen (Giant-Alpecin), among others.
ANAPRC executive director Michael Carcaise explained to Cyclingnews that the organisation wants the UCI to make existing guidelines for course safety mandatory rules, and hold race organisers responsible.
"We are not asking for all risk to be removed from pro cycling. We simply ask that race organizers use the most basic common sense to make courses safe in the most dangerous part of the course -- the last 5 km," Carcaise said.
"Riders are the only stakeholders held accountable in pro cycling. The UCI must start holding race organizers to a higher standard for safety. Their suggested guidelines are not good enough."
The current UCI course guidelines only call for protection of the final 300m before the finish line with barriers, and offers only loose advice for protecting riders against 'road furniture'.
The riders have been calling for stricter rules for the final kilometers of races for some time, but after last year's opening stage of the Vuelta a Pais Vasco took place on a road with unprotected low posts, causing a massive crash that seriously injured Peter Stetina and Sergio Pardilla, the calls have begun to ring louder.
Kragh Andersen and Fröhlinger caught up in Qatar crashes
Kragh Andersen, who was leading the best young rider category, went down in a crash in the last kilometre. Kragh Andersen was uninjured but he slipped into second in the competition for the white jersey. Sven Erik Bystrom is now leading the young rider classification, with the same time as Kragh Andersen.
“In the last kilometre, there was a crash which ruined our chances to sprint with Søren. Fortunately, he managed to get back on his bike,” said the team’s coach Marc Reef in a press release.
Fröhlinger was involved in an earlier crash half way through the stage and needed to be transported to hospital for stitches to his knee.
Reef added that, “All the riders are OK and we look forward to tomorrow’s time trial stage.”
Markus breaks collarbone in crash-marred final sprint in Qatar
Barry Markus (Roompot - Oranje Peloton) crashed in the final sprint of the second stage in the Tour of Qatar and suffered a triple fracture to his collarbone, according to a statement on the team’s website.
Markus will not finish the Tour of Qatar and will need to undergo surgery during the coming days to correct the fracture.
According to the team, Markus was one of the riders who had to react after an unexpected maneuver in the peloton as it approached a split in the median of the road that had no barriers.
Mahoric’s elbow surgery a success
“The Slovenian rider underwent surgery at the left elbow in Doha hospital, the surgery had a successful outcome,” the team stated in a press release.