Shimano has concluded its investigation of the two incidents in the Tour of Flanders involving their neutral service cars, and again apologized to the riders and teams involved. It said that the crash involving Trek Factory’s Jesse Sergent was the result of “a split-second error of judgment”.
In separate incidents, a neutral service car hit Sergent, who suffered a broken collarbone, and another Shimano car hit the FDJ team car in the same race, pushing it into FDJ rider Sebastien Chavanel.
The company issued the results of its investigation on Friday, after considering “reports from all parties concerned".
Sergent was in the race’s breakaway, and as the gap decreased, the cars behind the break were told to move to the front of the race.
“Following the convoy and in a pressurized race situation, the highly qualified driver chose to progress at the wrong moment, resulting in him crossing Jesse's racing line on a corner, coming into contact with the rider,” Shimano said.
"He immediately realized what happened and pulled in at a point where it was safe to do so. He retrieved Jesse’s bike from the on-coming flow of traffic and attempted to aid the rider before contacting police and ambulance services. We are assured that, aside from a split-second error of judgement, all protocols were followed, both to mitigate the chance of an accident and how to respond after an accident.”
In the second incident, “a neutral service car was involved in a collision with a Francaise des Jeux car. A sudden stop by the FDJ vehicle to assist Sebastien Chavanel caused a low-speed collision with the vehicle following behind. This caused the FDJ car to make contact with the stationary Sébastien Chavanel.”
Shimano noted that it has formally apologized to all involved, and that all apologies were accepted.