The CPA International rider association has criticised the BinckBank Tour and the UCI, suggesting the race does not deserve a place in the UCI WorldTour after a series of safety concerns and issues during this year's race.
Riders took to social media to complain about course design and safety after stage 2, with Deceuninck-QuickStep domestique Tim Declerq writing: "Hypocrisy of the cycling world. First we have a really touching minute of silence # ForBjorg, 5' later we have to destroy each other again on a bike-wide course with a million corners."
Three-time stage winner Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe doing the same after Friday's stage, highlighting the dangers of the extruding feet of the barriers in the final 200 metres of the stage.
"I'd love to know the thought process behind those barriers before 200m to go!" the Irish national champion wrote on Twitter. "This sport is dangerous enough, we race above 60km in a final like this. It is not acceptable! @cpacycling time show your presence."
Race organiser Rob Discart responded to rider concerns in an interview with Sporza, comparing the race route to those of the Flanders Classics, and saying that the nature of the route was known well beforehand.
The CPA decided to speak out on Saturday, venting their anger about the lack of firm action by the UCI when race organisers allow safety standards to drop.
The CPA is concerned that race organisers may prefer to pay any eventual fine from the UCI for poor safety issues rather than invest funds on extra barriers and better safety.
"Our delegate has reported the many problems to the organizers and to the UCI, whose safety delegate is finally coming today at the race," CPA president Gianni Bugno complained in a statement.
"The riders are facing a city obstacle course, I wonder: who authorized it? Tomorrow this race will end, but under these conditions it is not acceptable to ride.
"There are rules and they must be respected. At the moment we are not interested in listening only about penalties that may be imposed to the organiser, accidents must be prevented, we cannot go on like this.
"Riders cannot risk their life because the organizer is not able to guarantee a certain type of safety standard. Problems like these are not admissible, an event organised in this way cannot be part of the World Tour."
The CPA claimed it has worked with the UCI on various safety committee, often submitting detailed reports, only for little to change in certain races.
"We are tired. The UCI thanks us for our reports but does not much to change the things," Bugno said.
"We believe in teamwork, in dialogue and in the work of the commissions, but we cannot afford not to be taken seriously. We can no longer accept this modus operandi. If this is the attractiveness of cycling to which the international federation is aiming, we are definitely going in the wrong direction."
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