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Gent-Wevelgem, Healthy Ageing Tour score highest in new safety report

Marianne Vos wins Gent-Wevelgem 2021
Marianne Vos wins Gent-Wevelgem 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images)

As part of their ongoing aim to improve the safety of women’s cycling, The Cyclists’ Alliance (TCA) has collated data provided by 30 ambassadors from 28 UCI road teams who take a monthly survey throughout the season to produce a road race safety report in which Gent-Wevelgem and the Healthy Ageing Tour had the most favourable scores.

Alongside this survey, the TCA has also created a ‘Crash Reporting Tool’ to track in-race incidents, enabling the TCA to check if the correct safety regulations were followed.

Some important trends emerged from these reports. On the positive side, riders commended the new lights and audio alarms to indicate dangerous points on the course. 

The peloton also welcomed increased live TV coverage, while highlighting that these efforts to improve coverage of races have proved inconsistent. At Strade Bianche, for example, only the last 23km was available live, even as races such as Brugge-De Panne received the same amount of coverage as their male counterparts. 

Riders reserved serious concern for Marc Bracke’s attendance at two spring classic events. In October 2020, Bracke, a sports director at Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport, was found guilty of harassment by the UCI Ethics Commission and then handed a three-year suspension by the Disciplinary Commission.

Beyond this broader trends, the survey also illuminated issues at individual races. Each race is ranked according to a three-fold criteria: safety, coverage and equality. 

In this way, the TCA can capture a broad range of issues at a race from the stringency of COVID protocols and safety of the finish line to the quality of live broadcasts available to the question of equal prize money. Each criterion is evaluated on a scale of one (very poor) to five (excellent), so races can score a maximum of 15 points.

In the first quarter of the 2021 season, only the Healthy Ageing Tour and Gent-Wevelgem scored over 12 points. Riders praised the organisers of the Healthy Ageing Tour for their approach towards extreme weather conditions and the extensive live TV coverage provided by Eurosport/GCN. 

Gent-Wevelgem also scored highly for coverage, though it fared less well on equality since the women received just 15 per cent of the total prize money awarded to the men’s and women’s pelotons.

At the other end of the scale, the GP Eco-Struct scored a paltry seven points. It was particularly criticised for its lack of live coverage and failure to signpost road furniture 500m from the finish that caused a crash within the peloton.

By collating information from every race, the TCA can elevate riders’ voices, offering specific critiques and improvements to be considered by race organisers.

View TCA's full Road Race Safety Reports (opens in new tab) for the 2021 season for more information.

TCA safety report: safety, coverage and equality score
DateEvent NameScore (out of 15)
27/02/2021Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - 1.Pro 10.55
02/03/2021Le Samyn des Dames - 1.1 10.5
06/03/2021Strade Bianche - 1.WWT 9.76
12/03/2021Healthy Ageing Tour - 2.1 12.07
14/03/2021GP Oetingen - 1.2 8.93
17/03/2021Danilith Nokere Koerse - 1.Pro 8.57
21/03/2021Omloop van de Westhoek - 1.1 10.34
21/03/2021Trofeo Alfredo Binda - 1.WWT 10..09
25/03/2021Brugge-De Panne - 1.WWT 10.89
28/03/2021Gent-Wevelgem - 1.WWT 12.03
31/03/2021Dwars door Vlaanderen - 1.1 10.75
04/04/2021Ronde van Vlaanderen - 1.WWT 11.14
05/04/2021Ronde de Mouscron - 1.1 10.86
07/04/2021Scheldeprijs - 1.1 10.28
14/04/2021Brabantse Pijl - 1.1 11.56
18/04/2021Amstel Gold - 1.WWT 10.59
18/04/2021Vuelta CV Féminas - 1.1 10.5
18/04/2021Grand Prix Féminin de Chambéry - 1.2 10.67
21/04/2021La Flèche Wallonne Féminine - 1.WWT 10.8
25/04/2021Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes - 1.WWT 11
30/04-02/05/2021Ceratizit Festival Elsy Jacobs - 2.Pro 11.51
08/05/2021GP Eco-Struct - 1.2 7

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Issy Ronald has just graduated from the London School of Economics where she studied for an undergraduate and masters degree in History and International Relations. Since doing an internship at Procycling magazine, she has written reports for races like the Tour of Britain, Bretagne Classic and World Championships, as well as news items, recaps of the general classification at the Grand Tours and some features for Cyclingnews. Away from cycling, she enjoys reading, attempting to bake, going to the theatre and watching a probably unhealthy amount of live sport.