Australian sprinter Kate Bates has called for respect in the women's peloton after incidents marred two rounds of what was otherwise a successful Honda Insight Women's Grand Prix Series, held recently throughout New South Wales, Australia.
Russian rider Evgenia Romanuta crashed heavily - requiring her to be taken to hospital - in the third event in the coastal city of Gosford and commissaires found Honda Dream Team leader Rochelle Gilmore to be at fault in the accident.
Gilmore was disqualified but continued in the series and eventually took it out with a win in the final race in the beachside suburb of Cronulla on Sunday.
That race wasn't without incident however, and Bates spent a considerable time speaking with commissaires after the finish as Gilmore appeared to cut her off in the sprint to the line. The former Team HighRoad rider has called for more respect amongst riders, paritcularly with emerging professionals watching their more experienced peers in the ranks.
"Rochelle's an accomplished athlete and a classy bike rider and she doesn't need to do that. First and foremost it's dangerous... and then a disqualification from the race is mild punishment when someone ends up in hospital," Bates told Cyclingnews.
"We are role models - and Rochelle holds herself up as a role model - for the young riders coming through and they might [mistakenly] think it's fair to ride that way," she added.
Bates herself has spent the last two years coming back from injury and is wary of the risk of re-injury; therefore she's also extremely cautious of the potential for accidents and was frustrated at the tactics in use during the two races in question.
"I rode four out of the five races - in two of those I sprinted and ended up yelling at the commissaires," Bates continued. "We need to send a strong message that consequences will match the action. There are rules that need to be observed."
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