The first rest day of the 2011 Tour de France has resulted in the professional cyclists' union (CPA) asking for heightened awareness of riders from the convoy.
The call comes following a series of crashes which effected nearly every stage of the Tour's opening week, with two of the most serious resulting from incidents where the convoy collided with riders - Saxo Bank's Nicki Sørensen was clipped by a motorcycle carrying a photographer that was moving ahead of the peloton on stage 5, while Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM)were hit by a France Television car which did not follow orders from race radio and pull to the side of the road as requested on stage 9.
"We must not forget that the protagonists are the riders in each race," said CPA president Gianni Bugno, in a statement. "The greatest attention and all necessary measures for their safety must be ensured and constantly met ... "
Bugno used the stage 9 incident as a prime example in the argument against International Cycling Union's (UCI) radio ban which has been rolled out on top-level events this season.
"Given the difficulty in ensuring security in the races now, I cannot imagine what happens when you prevent the use of headsets in the big races like the UCI wants to do," he continued. "We hope that some decisions be reviewed and, as already mentioned, the riders' safety will always be a priority."
The radio ban is set to extend to WorldTour events, including the Tour de France, in 2012.
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