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Tour de Pologne enlists Boplan barriers to improve safety

Boplan barriers
Boplan's range of barriers (Image credit: Tour de Pologne / BOPLAN)

Following the crash that almost ended Fabio Jakobsen's life last August, the Tour de Pologne will upgrade their finish-straight barriers, using the yellow Boplan barriers seen in the Classics this spring. 

Numerous riders had raised concern at the way the barriers alongside the downhill finish in Katowice collapsed on impact, pinging back out into the road as Jakobsen was sent flying.

Race director Czesław Lang initially insisted that "everything was prepared as safely as it could have been" and suggested "the barriers gave in and softened the hit a bit". 

On Wednesday, the race announced a partnership with Boplan, a Belgian company that has recently developed shock-absorbing plastic barriers. 

"The safety of the race and the riders has always been one of the main points on the agenda of our races," said deputy race director Agata Lang. "For this reason, we decided to use the new support of Boplan and their innovative systems which were also appreciated by the riders on the races in Belgium."

Boplan's 'race barriers' were first used at Flanders Classics' one-day races this spring. They are made from a shock-absorbing polymer, rising to 1m40 at an angle of 70 degrees in order to keep spectators from leaning over into the road. 

Boplan have also developed a tall yellow 'totem' barrier in order to signal and protect road furniture on the route, which will also be used at the Tour de Pologne. 

"We are delighted to bring our safety expertise to the service of the Tour de Pologne, said Boplan CEO and founder Xavier Ramon. "With the deployment of the Boplan Race Barriers, Race Totems and Race Bumpers the organization of the Tour de Pologne makes a clear statement about the importance of safety at the event."

The 2021 edition of the Tour de Pologne takes place from August 9-15, while the organisers will use the barriers for the first time at the ORLEN Nation Grand Prix U23 race from May 29-30.

Jakobsen has since recovered from his injuries thanks to multiple surgeries and months on the sidelines. He has recently returned to racing, as has Dylan Groenewegen, whose deviation caused the crash and who was banned by the UCI for nine months. 

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.