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September 21, 2017
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  • Don Cafferty

    “… we don’t have the data required to know if the Tour de France is really becoming more dangerous.” The reverse part of the question can not be determined either: is the Tour de France becoming more safe for riders. This is why race organizers need to be challenged. They must not be allowed complacency on the issue.

  • Derek Maher

    Road furniture increases,Yellow painted road markings nasty in wet weather all add to the hazards these days.
    Perhaps more pushing and shoving to get to the front driven by Team Directors on the radio,s.In the pre radio days Team Captains and the peloton bosses kept manners on the more erratic riders.

    • Dave

      Lots of other electronic devices occupying riders’ attention as well.

      Perhaps the GoPro should be switched on by remote control rather than being under the rider’s control, and the power meter placed under the saddle as on a track bike so it would be used only for post-race analysis rather than riding by numbers.

  • Kellen Hassell

    The manner in which I (and other CT readers) benefit from CyclingTips’ utilization of professionals from academia—as applicable to seemingly endless aspects of cycling training, performance, and fandom—is absolutely amazing and refreshing.

  • velocite

    I’m guessing this information is not available, but to me what would be interesting is the causes of crashes, and in particular the wheel overlaps. Why did Tony Martin hit Bryan Coquard’s wheel? Did Coquard drift across irresponsibly, or was Martin looking behind him for team mates? How many are lapses in concentration on long straight roads, with no wind?

    • brucegray

      The Stage 3 crash caused by Degenkolb chopping Bonnet was inexcusable. How a pro rider could do that is beyond me. I can only imagine these guys are disinhibited by PEDs or ADHD or both; or profoundly fatigued. It’s a fact that many riders are doing much more volume and more races than 20-40 years ago. The race administrators seem to turn a blind eye to these things. I’ve really lost respect for cycling administration over the last 5 years. It seems the sport is run by money hungry small town rednecks, and they don’t give a stuff how many young bodies get smashed. Bonnet is unlikely to ever race again with his injury.

      • Sean Doyle

        I don’t see Degenkolbs move as a blatant chop and I realise you’ll vehemently disagree. Sure he moved across and it was unfortunate and sickening in the aftermath, but if you watch closely you see riders changing lines like that all day long in the bunch. It just so happens there was a misjudgment this time round.

        • brucegray

          Nevertheless, it was a distinctive chop….and at 80+kph! That’s just mindless recklessness in my books. Riders are clearly and repeatedly taught from when they are juniors not to chop.

          • Sean Doyle

            Have you seen conclusive footage? All Ive seen is footage that starts when the rider is just starting to fall. Its impossible to say where Degenkolb actually started from and how far he moved across. Maybe Bonnet drifted a little as well.

            • brucegray

              yes I saw footage that allowed me to confidently draw the conclusion I did.

  • Dangs

    The use of Tramadol and related medications could also be a contributor regarding rider concentration and awareness.

  • Roger That

    There never seem to be as many crashes at the Giro? Or is that just me? Handy to see a comparison. The Tour is ‘the show’ and more pressure is on all riders and managers, but is there something to be learned from the Giro?

    • I have not data to back it up, but I think there’s a couple things at play:

      1. Getting a start at the Giro isn’t carry the same prestige as the Tour. The combination of nervousness and trying to get a good result at the Tour is a dangerous combo.

      2. The media don’t pay attention to the Giro the same way and don’t sensationalise headlines like they do with the Tour

      • Dave

        Comparing with the Giro is certainly interesting.

        There is a great deal of difference in many of the roads. The Tour largely uses magnificent highways with enough space for four GC contenders and two sprinters to all have their teams’ pacelines alongside each other, while much of the Giro is typically contested on narrower roads.

        I wonder if the roads of the Tour are too safe, and that using some back roads instead might prompt riders to take their safety a bit more seriously.

    • brucegray

      The diff between the Giro and TdF is riders haven’t done a Giro prior to riding the Giro, unlike the TdF…not to mention the one day classics. In other words, fatigue has a lot to answer for. It accumulates during the season, as do injuries.

  • Tim

    A couple of questions:
    1. Does anyone know when the last stage was that did not include a crash (TTs excepted);
    2. Does the rate of crashes decline as the standard of riding declines (ie did your last C grade club race have a crash – adjust numbers for riders x kilometres); and
    3. Is crashing a a function of peloton size (ie in TdF with 200 in the peloton is seems to be inevitable).

    • PsiSquared

      With the lack of documented crash data, it’s unlikely your questions can be answered with any confidence.

    • CapeHorn

      From local criterium races, over the last three years, 63 events, no ambos required, 2x hospitalisations, but from higher, not lower grades.
      (1 collarbone, 1 leg, the leg wasn’t diagnosed for 2 days)

  • andy mcnab

    One this not often mentioned is the quest to use tyres with the lowest grip coefficient/rolling resistance available (something which has improved over the last decade of racing), I am no expert but does this not result in less stopping ability in wet and adverse conditions?

    Perhaps it would be best if teams did a f1 style nominations of tyres for the season with rules regarding lowest rolling resistance allowed during dry, changeable and wet conditions. Attempting these regulations for a few years to see if things improve could be an option and abandoning them if they fail to.

    • PsiSquared

      Low rolling resistance does not necessarily imply low grip. Rolling resistance is primarily a function of hysteresis, i.e. energy lost through the flexing of the tire carcass. Tires with thicker, stiffer carcasses have higher rolling resistance than thinner, more flexible carcasses.

  • James

    Isn’t the real issue whether rider safety is adequate or not? The percentage of crashes seems secondary to imposing measures which might prevent or reduce rider injury irrespective of the statistics. Just having a crash helmet and no other protective clothing while exposing yourself to high speeds seems foolhardy. And what message does it send to the broader community that professionals accept that serious injury is part of the sport? The UCI should impose on road racing higher standards of protection – like they did with helmets – to ensure that rider safety is fundamental to every event they oversee.

    • Derek Maher

      I guess James that wearing a load of kevla in summer heat would cause a whole bunch of riders to faint.
      Helmets might also contribute to a false sense of security and riders could behave in a more careless manner.
      Chatting over the radio in a bunch at high speed is also going to cause a drop in concentration.Mobile phone use and driving cars has caused many a pile up.
      Squeeze points also seem to up the crash rate as everyone is told to get to the front and the maths just don’t work Volume v capacity.

  • RideSafe

    I also ‘typically question’ what penalties there are for riders that actually cause a crash (eg fines, suspensions etc)?? It may be accidental and might be a momentary lapse of concentration but it can still be negligent, especially when it causes injuries or even lost opportunity for others in a race. Jockeys in horse racing, race car drivers, probably most sportspeople don’t escape sanctions for dangerous actions or behaviour in their sports and neither should pro bike riders, especially if it improves safety.

    • Sean Doyle

      Only issue I can see there is having the correct evidence to impose a penalty. While the vision of what goes on in a bunch is getting better we are still a long way off from having a system where the evidence is always clear purely because the angles are forever changing over many hours.


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September 21, 2017
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