Moto Mayhem?

Sergio Paulinho is the lastest rider to suffer injury from a race vehicle after he was hit during Stage 11 of the Vuelta a España on the same day his Tinkoff-Saxo team issued an “open letter” calling for improved safety and an apology.

Some people have been asking what are the rules about vehicles and safety in the race convoy and what the different vehicles are doing so here’s a look at the topic.

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Laurent Fignon remembered

French rider Laurent Fignon died two years ago today.

The photo is from 1982. Fignon is in his first season as a pro and has already impressed. He won the Criterium International and played a big part in helping fellow Renault rider Bernard Hinault win the Giro d’Italia, all whilst finishing 15th overall too.

After this good start Fignon was sent home in July to rest whilst Hinault went on to win the Tour de France. With his bike on holiday Fignon kept training and towards the end of the season it was Hinault’s turn to rest. On the morning of Paris-Tours Fignon stood up and told the team he wanted to be the leader that day. His team laughed.

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The (broken) Collarbone


Think of a crash in a bike race and it’s easy to imagine leg injuries given the sport is associated with the leg muscles and the exposed skin. But when it comes to broken bones, it seems riders seem to break and fracture their collarbones all the time.

Off the top of my head, from men’s pro cycling Fabian Cancellara, David Millar, Filippo Pozzato, Sebastian Langeveld, Wouter Mol, Carlos Quintero have done it this season, and there must be several more. Even the UCI’s Alain Rumpf  too. Get well soon.

Here’s a quick look at this bone which turns out to be unique.

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UCI and Tour de France considering smaller teams

Tour de France crash

The opening week of the Tour de France was marked by several crashes that took out many riders including several favourites for a podium spot. Nobody wants this, even TV producers who might get a thrill from the carnage realise that decimating the cast of contenders isn’t good for their viewing figures over three weeks. A formal review from the UCI has suggested reducing size as a solution.

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Crashes, falls and… fallacies

L'Equipe chutes

With the Tour de France on the eve of the mountain stages one thing that has characterised the racing so far has been the crashes. This is often the case, the first week is a nervous time. But this time it has been different, work by cyclocosm has been refined by an architect student and you can see the results on his tumblr blog. Here’s the summary which measures the withdrawals by Stage 9 over the past 10 years:

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2010: Best Excuse for Crashing

Extra All riders get caught up in crashes. I’d call Haussler’s Swiss roll with Cavendish as unfair but part of the game. But sometimes riders hit the deck for stranger reasons. Indeed Christian Vande Velde is almost a connoisseur of tarmac. He’s shown flashes of brilliance and if fans are frustrated by his lack of … Read more

Gerben Löwik’s crash

Watch Gerben Löwik’s nasty crash below, courtesy of The Dutchman’s brake cable snapped during Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse. I can’t think of another time when a cable snappped, it’s a rare thing. It’s a grizzly crash, we can only watch the rider knowing he cannot stop. Löwik had to leave the … Read more

Alpine Dangers

I can’t be sure if it hasn’t happened yet but one thing to watch out for this season is the growing presence of street furniture in the Alps and Pyrenees in France. Each time I visit France I’ve always been struck by the landscaped roundabouts that wouldn’t look out of place in the Chelsea Flower … Read more

Health & Safety

Riding a bike into the finish of a race at 40mph with riders jostling through winding European town centres is dangerous enough but yesterday’s Ruta del Sol saw a gust of wind blow a crowd barrier over into the riders path. It’s this sort of freak event that shows the risks riders have to contend … Read more