The president of the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) Gianni Bugno has called for improved safety regulations at races following the death of Antoine Demoitié after he was struck by a motorcycle during Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem. Demoitié had crashed along with several other riders when a race motorcycle fell on them as it reportedly tried to swerve around the accident.
Demoitié’s Wanty-Groupe Gobert team confirmed the news that the Belgian had died on Monday morning. Bugno expressed his sadness at the incident but also his frustration and said that more needed to be done.
"At this time of sadness and sorrow for the death of Antoine, we do not want to make controversy, but we have so much frustration inside,” Bugno said in a statement issued by the CPA on Monday morning. “We have always stated that the safety of the riders must be in first place in the discussions of the cycling stakeholders and at the last CCP meeting, we have specifically asked to quickly communicate the strategies developed recently to improve security during the races.
“I do not want to accuse anyone but make everyone reflect on the responsibility we have to ensure that a very high level of attention, awareness, and control over safety standards is always maintained during each race.”
The news has come as a big blow to the cycling community, and many tributes were paid on social media throughout Monday morning. Among the tributes, there have also been calls for better protection for the riders.
There have been a number of incidents in the last two years where motorbikes have been involved in crashes with riders. Recently Lotto-Soudal’s Stig Broeckx suffered a fractured collarbone after being hit by a motorbike passing the peloton at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne earlier this month. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) were both hit by motorcycles at last year’s Vuelta a Espana and Clasica San Sebastian, respectively. Jesse Sergent was hit by a neutral service car during last year’s Tour of Flanders.
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