re- neutralising the race after dangerous crash

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by BullGod, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. BullGod

    BullGod New Member

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    Yesterday I rode a prestigious elite classic in Holland. 120 riders lined up to start, including the current leader in the continental tour, Bobbie Traksel.

    Right after the usual insane "neutral" start, (where 100 riders all try to ride at the front at the same time) the race hit the open road, and the speed went up to nudging 60 km/h.

    After about 2 minutes of race I was in the tail of the peloton moving up the inside left when suddenly there is a massive pile up when riders just ahead of me rode into an old man in a car, who had somehow driven onto the course. Several guys hit the car head on at full speed, and I saw a bike totally come apart. I knew I was a goner and unclipped my pedals and aimes for the grass verge, ending up going hard over the bars and into a ditch.

    Straight away I'm back up trying to reengage with the peloton with a small group of other bloodied riders, but with the peloton going that fast, there was no way we could get back on, especially as the anal race rules don't allow drafting behind the team cars.

    So after 5km of team time trialling at 55, dodging support cars the jury car approaches and chucks us out the race.

    I am extremely piss*d off about this and immediately I began blaming the race organisers for not only causing this crash but then ensuring that the affected riders have no chance of staying in the race. If I was on a race jury and through a fault of the organisers a dangerous crash occurs in km 1 of a 180km race i would be strongly minded to re-neutralise the race to ensure the injured riders can be treated, equipment can be replaced, and the fallen riders can get back into the peloton before hostilities reopen. At professional races the riders willingly wait for the fallen crash victims in a sitation where sitting up would not affect the race result (ie. the peloton is all together) but you can't expect that from overexcited amateurs who just want to ride everyone off their wheel. Hence, my view that the race directors need to intervene.

    Every week here half my team are out of the race due to crashes in the first 15 minutes of 4 hour races, and it's starting to affect morale.

    I'd be interested to hear from other riders, jury members, race organisers and spectators to see what people think about this kind of thing.
     
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  2. thekgb

    thekgb New Member

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    it's an interesting question, and scenario. first i would check the "rulebook" to see if that's for or against your proposition of halting the field in such a case. My feeling is that after the original neutral start the general sense would be all is fair in love, and war...and cycling. the difficult part is that treating the "re-neutralization" as a hard and fast rule would be too troublesome. IOW, what if it hadn't been a guy in a car, but another bike rider doing something stupid. Or what if it was a dog, or a pedestrian and only a few riders went down? how do you decide how "big" an accident needs to be to "re-neutralize" the race? 5 riders, 10 riders, 20 riders? But what if it's a small field?

    Then, how do you decided at what KM to make the cut-off for re-neutralizing? 1k, 10k, 20K? what if it's only a 100K, re-neutralizing at 20K would mean 20% ofthe race is over and a break is already away...and you're starting over essentially if you re-neutralize at that point. It has too many variables to be able to predict or please everyone, so i imagine that's why the rules probably state you can't re-neutralize...unless some foreseeable harm/danger is upon the whole group (eg: a multi-car accident is upahead with ambulances, or another field is passing you) My feeling is it should be the peleton who polices themselves from that standpoint, and waits for the other riders.

    -Mike



     
  3. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    Because the split was from an outside agent (the car) the race should be neutralized. This is not excplicit in the UCI rules, but left to judgement of COM 1.
     
  4. strader

    strader New Member

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    Half your team??? I think I'm going to stick to racing my mountain bike.
     
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