Two separate crashes in the RideLondon 100 cyclo-sportif resulted in almost 30-minute halt in proceedings for the RideLondon Classic peloton Sunday with both riders airlifted from the scene of their crashes.
The cyclo-sportif was held Sunday morning, ahead of the UCI 1.1 event which featured the likes of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and eventual winner Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep), following much of the same route on closed roads with an estimated 27,000 cyclists taking part.
The first crash involved a rider and a tree near Pyrford, which saw the first diversion put in place, but details on the specifics of the incident remain unknown.
"It is not known whether he hit the tree on his bike or whether he came off his bike prior to hitting the tree. He was airlifted to St George's hospital and is in a serious condition," a South East Coast ambulance service spokeswoman said according to The Guardian.
The diversions, which saw the Box Hill climb removed, created a delay for the cyclo-sportif cyclists for up to one hour with a second diversion necessary as the pro peloton was catching up and resulted the race being halted.
Race director Mick Bennett explained that he made the decision to pause the race to ensure the welfare of both the professional and amateur riders.
"We erred on the side of caution in the interest of the safety of the public and riders in the sportive and paused the race," said Bennett. "At that point, the breakaway group of six had a gap of 3:55. I spoke to the team managers prior to the pause, who were able to speak to the riders through their earpieces. After we stopped, I talked to the team leaders.
"All the riders and teams were fine with it and in total agreement. This is pro racing. It happens. There was a great atmosphere. The race was paused for 24-25 minutes. I gave the riders a 4-minute and 2-minute whistle. The breakaway group went and then the peloton went 3:55 later."
The second accident took place in Thames Ditton were a male cyclist was treated for head injuries at the scene, before being airlifted to St George's hospital in South London.
With the roads cleared following the accidents, there were no further incidents halting the RideLondon Classic with the peloton resuming racing and Boonen enjoying his victory on The Mall ahead of Australian duo Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) and Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange).