UCI suspends Astana director Michaelsen after Tour de Yorkshire car crash

The Astana team car stops near a sign honouring Michele Scarponi

The Astana team car stops near a sign honouring Michele Scarponi (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Lars Michaelsen, director sportif of the Astana, has accepted responsibility for a car crash that took place during stage 4 at the Tour de Yorkshire while he was driving a team vehicle in the event's caravan. The UCI announced Friday that Michaelson will serve a 50-day suspension and pay a fine of CHF 5,000, while also collaborating with the UCI in delivering driver safety initiatives.

A race volunteer narrowly escaped being run over by Michaelson during the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire when he drove his Astana team car around a bend in the road and ploughed through a pedestrian crossing where the volunteer had been standing to direct the peloton. Wearing a highly visible vest, the signalman quickly jumped out of the way only moments before Michaelson drove the vehicle up on to the median, hitting a road sign before speeding off.

A video of the incident circulated on social media and Astana issued a statement on Twitter the next morning. "We're deeply sorry about the incident with our team car. The sport director that was driving the car contacted the race organizer directly after the race to send our apologies. We're trying to get in touch with the marshal as well. We're sorry and want this to never happen again."

The UCI's Disciplinary Commission rendered its decision in relation to the incident after Michaelsen "accepted his responsibility for the incident and actively collaborated with the investigation," written in a statement from the sports governing body.

"Mr Michaelsen will serve a period of suspension of 50 days and pay a fine of CHF 5,000. He will also collaborate with the UCI in delivering driver safety initiatives and share his experience as a driver in the race convoy."

The UCI also stated that it emphasises the importance of continuously working on measures aimed at improving road safety as well as acting on any such incidents from a disciplinary point of view in a fair and efficient manner.

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