Riders make safety complaints over traffic islands in Tour de la Provence finale

Tour de la Provence 2021 6th Edition 1st stage Aubagne SixFourslesPlages 1823 km 11022021 Davide Ballerini ITA Deceuninck QuickStep Arnaud Demare FRA Groupama FDJ Ide Schelling NED Bora Hansgrohe photo William Cannarella CVBettiniPhoto2021
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The 2021 season is only a few days old but there have already been rider complaints regarding safety following the opening stage of the Tour de la Provence

Several riders took to social media in the aftermath of Thursday's race to point out road furniture in the final kilometre. 

Qhubeka Assos' Carlos Barbero posted a photo from the head-on broadcast, drawing an arrow to point out the pair of raised traffic islands on the right-hand side of the road. 

"We should start to concern ourselves with what really matters. TWO unmarked traffic islands in the final kilometre," Barbero wrote. "It's bad if we find these things 100km from the line, but in the final kilometre, with heart rates maxed out, it's a trap that's going to result in a crash."

The issue of rider safety has become increasingly prominent in the past year due to a string of incidents following the re-start of the 2020 season last summer. 

The UCI recently unveiled a new package of measures, but they have been overshadowed by the banning of two aerodynamic positions – the 'super-tuck' and the 'forearms-on-handlebars'. There has been widespread derision among riders for those two rules, even if Matteo Trentin, a representative for the riders' association (CPA), insisted everyone was made aware during discussions and no one objected. 

Joining Ineos' Andrey Amador in agreeing with Barbero on social media, Movistar's Carlos Verona made reference to those new rules.

"The UCI and the CPA see the more dangerous thing being us descending in certain positions, or us being in a peloton of 200 riders.... when the thing that really makes our sport dangerous is THIS!!"

The Riders Union, an organisation recently established amid dissatisfaction with the CPA, also joined in, saying: "Dear organizers, riders are the best ambassadors for your event. They can handle a bike, even at the limit, just don't push them beyond. Please protect them from such dangers!"

In the new package of safety measures, the UCI announced that all races will have to appoint a safety manager trained by the UCI, and the governing body will also work with organisers to evaluate safety risks in advance of races.

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