Pro teams react angrily to moto incidents

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Both the BMC Racing Team and Lotto Soudal squad have called for strong action on incidents involving race motorbikes over the weekend, saying that the situation needs to be urgently addressed.

On Sunday Lotto Soudals’ Stig Broeckx was hit by a motorbike during the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne race, with the vehicle impacting Broeckx from behind after he moved across the road from left to right.

In the La Drôme Classic in France, BMC Racing Team rider Danilo Wyss hit the deck after a motorbike blocked the peloton on the exit of a hairpin bend.

The accidents follow other such problems in the past, including a collision between Peter Sagan and a motorbike during the 2015 Vuelta a España.

Lotto Soudal said that Broeckx suffered a fractured collarbone, a fractured rib and a bruised hand in the crash, and underwent surgery as a result. While he was able to head home on Monday, he will miss the spring races as a result.

“Lotto Soudal regrets the collision and the speed of the motor while passing by the group of riders,” said the team in a statement. “The team emphasizes that the road was wide enough and wonders if the motor rider should have been on that place at that time.

“The team loses an important rider who was part of the Classics core and who did a great job on Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday evening Lotto Soudal filed a complaint. The team and rider await the further investigation.”

Ochowicz has been outspoken on this subject before and made his latest feelings known on Monday. He inked a letter to the UCI and its president Brian Cookson, but also released the communication to the media.

“On September 1, 2015, less than one year ago, I wrote a similar letter after an alarming number of crashes involving vehicles had taken place in the peloton since the beginning of the 2015 season. Despite my reaching out for help at that time, the problem became even more prominent as the season went on and we watched in disbelief. Now here I am again asking the powers to be to take notice,” he stated.

“This weekend we saw two serious incidents take place that involved vehicles on the race course taking down riders on live television at La Drôme Classic in France and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in Belgium. Incredible! The riders deserve far more respect than what they are receiving from those who are responsible for protecting their safety.

“We all understand that there exists an element of danger in the sport of cycling from a number of places and conditions but no rider expects to be run down from behind by an over-enthusiastic pilot on a closed race course. Disgraceful!”

He said that action needed to be taken without any further delay, failing which the consequences could be much more severe.

“This has got to stop before the headlines in the future are of a more disturbing nature than what we have seen in 2015 and now again in 2016.”

He concluded the letter by saying that he wanted “answers and solutions” from the UCI.

Lotto Soudal wants the same body to act, but also says that others must be involved.

The team said that it hoped that “the theme ‘safety’ won’t only be further discussed between organisations, teams and their interest groups, federations and the international cycling union, but that soon also concrete measures will be taken to increase the safety of the riders.”

The UCI is yet to comment on the incidents.

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