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July 28, 2017
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  • Liam Hodgkinson

    Considering the support vehicles, the Sköda’s are driven (as I understand it) by former professionals, shouldn’t also the moto’s be ridden by professionals? I get the feeling the moto’s believe they are there as priority but not exactly, they are there so the Professional Cyclists can race, and if we’re lucky enough the spectators can see some video footage, but the priority is the cycle race and those competing. If you can’t stay out of the way, you shouldn’t be there in the first place.

    • Dave

      Most (but not all) team cars are driven by sporting directors who were former racers. They have, as well as some relevant experience, a vested interest in doing it right and they almost always do. These guys are more likely to crash their car off the road trying to avoid a cyclist than hit one.

      On a less relevant point, most pro teams have an automotive sponsor (e.g. Giant-Alpecin has BMW Mini Clubmans, Sky has Ford Mondeos) so they don’t need to use the vehicles provided by the race organisers except at the flyaway races. Not all races are sponsored by Skoda either – for example the TDU has Subaru vehicles, the Tour of Qatar had utes of some kind etc

  • Paul Rosi

    Until the appropriate controls are determined and fully implemented, motos simply need to be banned.

    No exceptions!!

    Anything less means organizers are happy to accept the risks and any consequences of further injury and tragedy such as this terrible incident.

    • V.I. Lenin

      Until someone rides into an unmarshalled traffic island, or is hit by an oncoming car that came onto the course from a side entrance while there was nobody there to stop it. Or gets knocked off by unregulated team cars getting up among the riders. At least there would be no visual evidence of it, I guess.

  • roklando

    What a sad day. That poor kid. This is what happens when a bunch of amateurs try to run a “professional” sport. Everyone from riders to websites like CT have been going on about this for ages. It was always a death foretold. Now the clowns at the UCI and the race organizers are going to say, what? “We’re sorry”? Their incompetence, and their total disregard for the riders that ultimately make their jobs exist is perfectly clear. The UCI prefers to be having their petty fights with the ASO than to prevent a young person from dying. What a joke “professional cycling” is.

  • roddders

    Accidents happen. No new licensing or reducing numbers of following cars will stop accidents. Until we know what really happened in GW it is very disrespectful to use yesterday’s accident as another example. Wait and see the facts.

    • David Bonnett

      One or two might be able to be dismissed as “accidents happen” but when you can’t count the number of recent incidents on both hands, there clearly is a systemic problem.

    • Peter Cain

      What nonsense. Read the article. In what other sport are the competitors at risk of injury from media/officials?

      • roddders

        At a guess I would say that every sport in which the media / officials travel alongside the competitors in vehicles.

        • Dave

          This happens with offical support crews (but not media) in motorsport, where the risk is dealt with by having the race controlled at low speed when there are support vehicles on the circuit.

          These rules have been improved during the last couple of years, following the death of Jules Bianchi from injuries sustained when he was driving too fast during a period when the race was controlled and crashed into a tractor.

          Is it relevant to cycling? Yes – but in relation to copying the safety culture of motorsport rather than cycling attempting to slavishly copy the practices which result from that safety culture.

    • ebbe

      We should certainly wait for the facts of what exactly happened, however… Accidents don’t “just happen”. As in normal traffic, accidents happen because roads are crowded, because drivers are tired, distracted or reckless, because the rules of the road are unclear, because bad weather is limiting visibility, or because some drivers are plain psychopats, etc. We have rules (law), campaigns (don’t drink and drive, get enough rest on long journeys), etc to limited the amount of accidents happening. We also continuously upgrade roads, signage, improve the rules (law), and use new technology to limit accidents further. There is absolutely no reason to not do the same in a bike race.

      We can’t fix everything at once, and we should indeed find out what happened and why (Was the moto “too close”? The reports would suggest so. Was the moto driving “too fast”? The reports do not suggest so), but we also shouldn’t just accept things as they are. If we do, there will be more fatalities in the future.

      • roddders

        Accidents are just that, accidents.

        It seems to be the current trend in cycling media to hysterically jump in bandwagons before understanding the facts. Let’s get the facts and then see what the cause / solutions could be.

        • brt570

          “Accidents” are by definition things which are entirely beyond human control, and completely unpreventable. Like probably 98% of other traffic incidents, this was not an “accident”. Unless the driver of the motorcycle was suddenly stricken blind or had a stroke or other medical emergency while driving, there was probably some way this could have been avoided. And probably pretty easily too by driving slower, maintaining more distance from the riders, etc…
          The simple fact is that there have now been 9 incidents in 12 months of major racing involving motorcycles, many of them serious and one fatal.
          If people are hysterical, they have a right to be. When we go out to ride on the roads, we do that knowing that death or injury from an inattentive or sociopathic driver is a possibility. However, the professionals are out racing on closed courses, doing their jobs. None of us would ever accept a work environment where we could be killed by a maintenance worker while sitting at our desks, and neither should the pro’s.

          • roddders

            lets wait until the facts are known before making judgements shall we.

            People are killed at work every week, in accidents. The world is an imperfect place.

            • donncha

              Yes, and thousands of people used to die on the roads, in accidents.

              Then we passed laws mandating seat belts in cars, manufacturers got serious about making their cars safer etc. etc. and now many fewer people die on the roads every year.

              No-one is saying it wasn’t an accident. What people are saying, and you seem unable to hear, is that there are many things that could be done to greatly reduce the chances of these accidents happening in future.

              • roddders

                What I am saying is that until the facts are known, any preventative measures being suggested by well meaning yet ignorant observers are simply clouding the issue. Your examples haven’t reduced the number of accidents, just the number of casualties.

            • Pete23

              I’ve not got a lot of experience of health and safety at work, but have spoken to a number of people during my career that have been involved in investigation into deaths at work. One thing that they are all adamant about is that the large percentage of “accidents” at work are preventable. If we keep dismissing dangerous occurrences as just accidents that are a part of life, that’s when nothing will ever get done about them and that is absolutely not acceptable.

              • Dave

                And in the work environment, an accident which was not foreseen is reviewed afterwards so that the lessons can be learned and further similar incidents prevented. Often such a review can even turn up other information and lead to other types of incident being prevented as well as the type being reviewed.

                This would appear to be a foreign concept to the UCI. What was the last safety improvement to result from the UCI doing their job of governing the sport – compulsory helmets in 2003 perhaps?

                • Belinda Hoare

                  You’re making assumptions. Unless you work in the UCI, or as part of race organisation, or are employed to work in races, you really don’t know what reviews are taken, what measures are implemented to improve safety in the sport. But there are a few that are patently obvious: The Extreme Weather Protocol, implemented in 2016, in which “The group considers the safety and the health of riders as an absolute priority”; and the implementation of a compulsory UCI Driver’s Certificate. But if you trawl through the extensive regulations that govern the sport, the central role of the health and safety of participants in the sport is there, throughout.

              • roddders

                No one is saying to dismiss this, just wait until the facts are known.

          • roddders

            Accidents kill people at work every day. Unless you have some inside knowledge into the causes of this incident at GW you are simply speculating / guessing and getting caught up in the current hysteria about it. Until you have the facts, I suggest you refrain from deciding the cause and solution to this sad incident.

          • A J MacDonald Jr

            All accidents are preventable.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    How many of us have said or thought, “What’s it going to take to deal with this issue? Does someone have to get killed?” Now we’ll find out. The rider’s union should take the lead here – maybe they boycott the Tour of Flanders next week? THAT would get the attention of those who control these things and perhaps force some changes to be made, but the riders are generally sheep who’ll do what they’re told so I don’t expect much more than complaints and finger-pointing. Riders – it’s YOUR safety, if you don’t stand up for it, nobody else will!

    • Dave


      Protest rides are more effective than boycotts – the Tour of Flanders should be ridden at 25km/h or the race regrouped 10km from the finish, and an appointed representative to take the ‘win’ for administrative purposes. The appointed winner should be a domestique who has never won a race before, able to speak to the media and explain the protest in at least French and English.

      It probably won’t happen though. Despite the organisation of the teams, men’s elite cycling is still an individual sport and it would not be long before someone decided to grab some glory.

      For all the things that many cycling fans don’t like about professional team sports and particularly the US major leagues, cyclists could do well to learn from the players’ unions in those sports.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        Well, it WOULD be effective in pissing a whole lot of fans off! Not so sure that’s the idea, but we’re in agreement that nothing much will likely happen in any case other than some whining and gnashing of teeth. I doubt those who are against turning pro cycling into a North American sports franchise model hold those views because of opposition to a real riders union, but who knows?

        • Dave

          I can’t remember there ever having been a fan backlash against protest rides in the past, the one the day after Wouter Weylandt died was attended by over a hundred thousand fans despite the plan being announced the night before. That’s why the appointed ‘winner’ would have to be someone who could fluently speak for the peloton in at least two languages, to get the fans on side.

          But it’s also the one thing which could get the attention of the UCI and the cowboy race operators. If it means that Flanders Classics goes to the wall and ASO picks up the rights to the race (maybe restoring some former glory?) when the administrators hold a fire sale, so be it.

          The Tour of Flanders has survived two World Wars, the removal of the ride along the sea, the removal of the Muur and changing hands a few times. It can survive one edition being a fizzer and yet another change in ownership.

          • Larry @CycleItalia

            Except that was THE DAY AFTER. Same as when Casartelli was killed, the DAY AFTER go-slows were understood by the fans. A similar deal one week later might rile up more than you think vs a boycott. I can see Flanders ‘fans” getting angry at a go-slow a week later, thinking why should they be punished and taking it out on the riders as they ride slowly past. With a boycott there’s nobody to throw things at.

  • Ben Greeve

    Do we actually know the timing of the event? From your opening few paragraphs it sounds like the moto hit an already crashed cyclist but depending on timing this incident can change dramatically. Take an example of a moto passing the group just fast enough to actually pass, if a rider crashes and slides a few metres to the side at the wrong moment there’s not much the moto can do.

    Banning all moto’s may as well be ignored, as is banning passing, may as well stop the race.

    Making sure preventable incidents don’t occur should be the highest priority, but there will always be incidents where nothing realistically could have been done.

    • V.I. Lenin

      This is only a tired confection of conjecture/rumour/stuff parsed between the lines, picked up here and there on various reports in various languages. This is fiction, please don’t take more than that from it:

      At the back of what’s left of the bunch, with more interesting things happening off the front, a moto commissaire – the commissaire himself riding pillion behind an experienced rider – was left to supervise those team cars that had no riders further forward. Maybe it was fast and riders were being shelled out, maybe it was calm with riders dropping back to their team cars. If the former, the cars needed to be held back to avoid riders getting undue assistance, if the latter it was just a matter of keeping an eye on things. The race has been going on for four hours and this is not where the interesting stuff has been happening. The road surface is a bit crap. It’s raining and it’s decidedly windy. Perhaps a couple of the teams now have riders away and their managers are on the radio demanding to be allowed to get past to assist them.

      Some riders are being dropped. The moto comm stays close up behind them to prevent the convoy getting too far off the pace without affording undue assistance to riders who are going backwards without the excuse of a mechanical or a crash. Once the gap has become definitive, he’ll be able to take the team cars through to support the riders who are still racing for something. This “barrage” is standard procedure. He’s keeping a close eye on the individual riders to distinguish between those who are done for the day and those who are still fighting.

      Then, right at the back, among the most exhausted riders, there’s a touch of wheels, and a few riders go down across the road, just as the commissaire is on the radio and looking behind him. The comm’s rider throttles back and tries to flick to the right to avoid the tangle in the road, but is hindered as his passenger instinctively compensates by leaning the wrong way, away from what feels like the direction of fall. The front wheel hits a loose bidon and the bike and passenger twitch left while the rider is sill trying to pull right. The rider gets his foot down but he is trying to hold up 400 kilos of GS1200 and pillion on a slippery surface at well below the speed the machine was designed to be stable at. Doing maybe 15 kph the bike drops over on its left hand side dumping itself and its riders in a heap on top of whatever happens to be there.

      A million times out of a million and one, the rider and comm have some bruises and maybe a pulled muscle or two and a BMW dealer somewhere in Flanders gets a few hundred euros worth of extra business.

  • Peter Cain

    I’m relatively new to cycling and watching the classics (3 years). What strikes me is that the UCI appear to see this as continuity of the risks that amateur enthusiasts take on open roads (and ultimately accept) to those that the pros should accept while racing. We know when we cycle there is that lingering awful chance that we may be nailed by some rogue driver. It’s almost as if the UCI leadership, whom I assume are avid cyclists themselves, see this as reasonable but predictable risk that the pros must accept as well from the caravan?

    Ultimately I think this gets down to the funding of the sport. I assume the UCI are nervous about implementing licensing of the caravan given the potential costs involved etc?

    Sorry time’s up. I certainly yearn for better data and on board camera coverage (like F1GP) and better conditions/pay and safety for the riders,..God know they suffer enough for us.

    My deepest sympathy for the family.

    • V.I. Lenin

      Everybody who drives (and most of those who travel barring VIPs and press) in a race convoy already need to be licensed, but the requirements for obtaining a licence lie with the national federations; in the case of Belgium that just requires a suitable driving licence, being over 18, under 70 and sundry good character requirements. For a WT event there is the limited additional training requirement described in the article. It’s certainly reasonable to call for training to be improved, and some of the incidents we’ve seen have suggested that, but it’s largely skills you learn on the job. And the moto rider in this case seems to have been very experienced and highly regarded, not some kid they’d just dragged in who’d never seen a race before.

      In the UK we have rather more stringent requirements for moto riders, although that largely conditioned by our having to race on open roads most of the time, which presents a different set of problems.

      • Peter Cain

        Hmm. Thanks for the info. It’s hard to see how the safety of the riders can be reasonably secured if we already have competent motos. Having said that there have been some clearly avoidable incidents – thinking Stig Broeckx at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. There was no excuse for that.

    • Dave

      Brian Cookson, the President of the UCI, is not even accepting of the risks involved with sharing space with other cyclists. A couple of years ago at the track world championships he had the track closed during a scheduled open training time so he could go for a spin.

  • I think the fact the UCI continues to seemingly ignore this issue is the most worrying part. At least TRY and put measures in place to see what works.

    • V.I. Lenin

      How do we know it is being ignored? The UCI requires drivers and moto riders to be licensed, with special training requirements for all convoy drivers in World Tour events, and has stepped up the requirements in the last couple of years. You’d have to be well into jet-fuel-can’t-melt-steel-beams territory if you don’t think that officials and organisers at all levels aren’t deeply concerned by safety – even if you think they’re all psychopaths they’re still aware of how much the insurance costs.

      • poisonjunction

        ‘How do we know it is being ignored . . . ‘ Haven’t you read the article, we are commenting on the death of a fallen cyclist ridden over by ‘2 – 3cwt’ motorbike and driver who failed to avoid him? Hard to see that as being other than driver incompetence – what ever excuses he offers!

        • V.I. Lenin

          We know very little about the circumstances for certain, although all I’ve seen suggests it was not ridden over him. I’d wait to see what the French police investigation reveals.

          • poisonjunction

            Reportedly the French Police investigation already agrees . . . ! But you keep waiting . . til the next death or injury.

      • Dave

        How do we know it’s being ignored?

        Because it’s getting worse rather than better, despite the election of Brian Cookson after an Obama-style campaign about being the ‘new broom’ coming in to fix things up!

        Actions are what count, not privately held concerns.

      • I think we know given the fact that it’s happening more than it used to. :/
        To quote Marcel Kittel:

        Here a little reminder from the last 2 seasons: Greg van Avermaet (San Sebastian), Peter Sagan (Tour of Spain), Taylor Phinney (US Nationals), Stig Broeckx (Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne), Jesse Sergent (Tour of Flanders) and Jakob Fuglsang (Tour de France) have been all involved in crash with a motorbike or neutral car. Peter Stetina (Vuelta Pais Vasco), Tom Boonen (Tour of Abu Dhabi) or Matt Brammeier (Tour of Utah) crashed because of an unsafe race route.

  • Arjan Hulsebos

    But who’s going to back up the UCI in case they get into a conflict over this with the organizers, say ASO, who state that they will decide on the number of cars and motos in a race, and who may ride them? My prediction: absolutely no one.

    • ebbe

      Exactly. It’s nice and all to have a riders’ association (if they’re not bickering amongst themselves that is), but what we really need is an “ethical sponsors association”. Professional sports is all about the money, after all. The big sponsors should ban together and say: We can’t use this negative side of cycling tainting our image, we demand reforms. If (following your ASO scenario, which I think might be very realistic) ASO doesn’t want to change for the benefit of our riders and the sport, then our teams will race some other race, or go on a three week holiday. That might turn the tables around completely: Instead of teams begging the organisers to please pretty please be allowed in their big races (for the publicity), the organisers would beg teams to please send their big names (for the publicity). UCI (who we already know has a sub-optimal relationship with ASO – so as normal we can’t expect too much reforms from UCI here) would have no option but to follow.

      Sadly, the only sponsor I could potentially see pulling something like this off wil discontinue his investments after the current season.

    • J Evans

      If the UCI actually started trying to do something and then the organisers complained, then you deal with that (at present, imaginary) issue.
      For now, the UCI are the ones who make the rules. And they have done nothing.
      They are responsible.

      • Dave

        I would relish the day when the UCI decides to become a proper governing body.

        It won’t be ASO they have a problem with, the races are among the safer ones on the calendar – the only one of their races to have serious incidents in recent years is their 50% ownership of the Vuelta a Espana where the other partner handles the operational side. An ASO takeover of top-level cycling to replace the WorldTour (just like CVC runs F1 under licence from the FIA and the Dorna Group runs MotoGP under licence from the FIM) would actually be beneficial for improving the organisation of elite cycling events.

    • V.I. Lenin

      ASO are a special case. They do exactly what they want, no comeback. They own enough of the calendar that they can overrule UCI officials whenever they like.

      • J Evans

        The UCI have done nothing to overrule.

        • V.I. Lenin

          The UCI have zero leverage. If ASO take their ball home, the teams will go with them. That battle was fought and lost a long time ago.

          • J Evans

            But the key point here is that the UCI have done nothing abou this issue.
            (The idea that they have but have been overruled by ASO is only in one’s imagination.)

            • Dave

              As is the idea that there would be any pushback from ASO if the UCI did raise safety standards. Their races would be largely unaffected by any changes.

  • jules

    what are the motos for?

    • ebbe

      That’s another aspect that is lost in all the emotion: What do each of these motos (not all motos together, but each individual one) do? As far as I know (I’ll probably miss a few) we have:
      – (Police) Escorts, clearing the way a mile ahead of the first riders and closing the course after the caravan
      – Photographers, in the race getting very close to the riders. There’s a lot of these!
      – Camera motos, in the race getting very close to the riders. These also have GPS to track time gaps between groups.
      – Interviewers/live reporters, in the race getting very close to the riders and also to the team cars. At least two in yesterday’s race
      – Doctors
      – Judges/race officials
      – Bordonneur motos, providing time gaps to the riders on a chalk board
      – Drinks motos, carrying water bottles
      – In some cases I’ve seen motos for carrying spare wheels. I believe that’s only when parts of the course are inaccessible to cars (eg, too steep or narrow)
      – … ?

      Some of these we absolutely need. Some we don’t need or we could do with far less. Some we could combine. Some we could replace with modern technology (on-bike GPS and camera’s, drones, e-ink signs, etc)

      • V.I. Lenin

        Drones are a non-starter. They need line of sight operation for safety/situational awareness by operators, and there are all sorts of legal restrictions on where you can use them (e.g. not over places where there are large groups of people, not close to airfields). And most of all, you don’t want them somewhere where there will be low-flying helicopters operating.

        • ebbe

          Hi there! ;-) Allow me to set you straight: They’ve already been used in several races, I’ve seen live camera feeds from drones on TV in a pro-race, so your “non-starter” is pure and plain nonsense. Yes, you need a permit, you can’t use them everywhere, not in heavy winds, the battery will drain quickly, they can also crash so don’t fly them above the riders (an accident has already happend), the helicopters need to stay up higher (which is fine if you have drones anyway), etc. But in some cases it’s possible and a lot safer.

          Anyway… Why am I even responding to somebody who ignores the entire gist of post and only picks out ONE WORD to critique? ONE WORD. And critique wrongly. I don’t know. Come back when you have something constructive to contribute and maybe we can actually get somewhere ;-)

          • touristeroutier

            Before everyone jumps to conclusions you need to understand that the vast majority of motos are not media; they are for traffic control, security, neutral support, and officiating.

            Drones, while they can help with TV coverage, can’t part spectators, or close intersections.

            • ebbe

              Precisely! That’s why you would need to look at what the task of “every moto individually” is, not merely the task of “all motos together”. The “police escorts” I mentioned (see above) are simply needed. These are also the ones that generally stay as far away from the riders as they possibly can. Only improvements I see here are: More planned shortcuts for them, so that they don’t need to overtake the entire field to get back to the front after the field has passed their controlled location, and/or using more stationary traffic controllers. But again: Im my humble assessment these are not the most dangerous motos. Sadly, it’s difficult to point to one specific moto or situation that holds all the danger: Some accicents happen at high speed open flat roads where the moto tries to get past the riders as quiclky as he can (Sagan, Broeckx), some at very low speeds on climbs where the moto just can’t go slow enough to avoid the rider (Van Avermaet, and now Demoitié). However, I’d still say in general: The less traffic IN the race (not in front of, or behind, but IN), the safer it gets.

              • V.I. Lenin

                On convoluted courses like Flanders you might well be able to do some short-cutting, but unless you are going to close those roads as well anything other than the shortest of cut-throughs will be jammed with traffic as spectators duck from one viewpoint to another. Circuits are easier, of course, but it would be horrible to see all the place to place races lost.

                Broeckx was an odd one – he throws the moto a perfect dummy by looking one way and moving the other for no apparent reason. Moto didn’t seem to be going that fast, should have been able to brake out of it, and should also have been hard on the horn, but trying to steer out of trouble is possibly a first reflex.

                • ebbe

                  If there is no shortcutting possible (for whatever reason) at least the organizers will know and can use more stationary traffic controllers, more bikes (means less hurry in getting to the front), plan where overtaking the field is allowed and where not, etc. Or work together with the municipality to keep a few short cut routes closed off.

                  I’m not saying I have all the answers, and any answer will need to be investigated further anyway, but currently it seems as if absolutely nothing has happened following quite a number of recent moto crashes. Nobody benefits from that.

          • V.I. Lenin

            Heh, fair enough, but jurisdictions and circumstances vary. The small number of pilots I’ve met really don’t like the prospect of tangling with drones, though. I don’t think they’re really usable for much except some additional camera angles, anyway.
            On-bike cameras are interesting when it comes to seeing what the middle of the bunch looks like but you’d lose a vast amount visually by not having experienced cameramen at work. On-bike GPS is also potentially useful (not just for spectators – a lot of commissaires’ or race director’s effort goes into keeping track of who is where on the road, whether gaps are opening or closing, so you could extend that to race vehicles as well. It would be great for officials to have a real time display of stuff like that). Most of these things still require some redundancy, though – you still need someone who can get around the convoy with a stopwatch for the times when everything else breaks down, and it will. You can provide some other form of static marking and marshalling for identified obstacles, but you still need someone to cover the unexpected broken down car/fallen tree/loose horse/air ambulance landing. You can cover every road junction with marshals or local police (as is already the case), but you still need to be able to stop unwitting or unwilling residents from pulling out of driveways and field gateways.

            And (because I have a real urge to make myself unpopular today, and although it is completely irrelevant to this case), riders, particularly at this level, do still have SOME responsibility for being aware of their surroundings, even if it is obviously secondary to the responsibilities of the people who are there to facilitate the race and are in charge of a lot more 1/2 mv2. It is a mistake to say that their safety is primary: above everything else EVERYBODY’S safety, riders, officials, spectators, passers by, is more important than a bike race. That doesn’t detract from riders’ particular vulnerability, which needs to be taken into particular account.

            • ebbe

              Oh, but you are absolutely correct! Progress is never an ‘overnight’ thing. It takes many small steps and everybody’s commitment to get ahead. And, although emotions are completely understandable right now, problem solving requires an analytical approach and dissection of all variables. ‘One size fits all’ solutions are rarely possible or effective in complex systems.

              Getting rid of all safety-motos is – of course – crazy dangerous. What I’m trying to say is: There must be ways to help these guys do their jobs better, more efficient and therefore safer. Maybe there need to be MORE of them, so that they don’t need to speed past the field to get back to the front all the time, but have the time to pick their overtaking locations better.

              And then we have all the other types of motos and cars. Each with their own peculiarities. For the photograph motos pooling together seems like a no brainer to me. For the reporter/interview motos: One should suffice, or none even. For the bottle motos: They could be combined with the bordonneurs and have an e-ink panel (not LED, that’s unreadable in direct sunlight) on their backs that always shows the time gaps. Combine that with a GPS tracker for each rider and we’re getting somewhere.

              I’ve honestly not seen much improvement for the benefit of safety, from neither race organisers nor UCI, in recent years. Pelotons have gotten larger, technology has advanced, races have gotten more nervous, speeds have increased, and fans, riders and teams demand better safety… Merely relying on the same old safety measures of past decades is clearly not the way forward. Throwing them overboard completely is neither ;-)

  • Chris Drew

    I assume the coroner or equivalent will get involved, but it shouldn’t take a death to investigate these accidents. Imagine if you were run over at work and badly injured. Imagine if it happened a couple of times in a short period of time. Do you think your work place would just say oh it is a dangerous activity and has to be expected?

    From the outside it seems that the UCI has been very flat footed around safety and now we have a death. This is a tragedy that hopefully will finally spur action. It just shouldn’t have had to come to this.

  • Back AGAIN ! The f..ing nuisance , calling for UCI to create an Umbrella Org. to SAFEGUARD CYCLISTS on the roads ! You know , the place WHERE the Racers TRAIN !

    R.I.P. to a racer i never met ? W.W. was another story , with regretably a similar result , under slightly different road conditions , BUT , on a road that UCI should have had regulations in PLACE to ensure the RACERS SAFETY !

    YES , UCI , are responsible to ensure that Race Organisers USE roads that can have ” SAFETY Barriers Installed “?

    With having ridden for 19 seasons the Major World Tour routes , i have constantly seen a lack of ” SAFETY Barriers ” , BUT , then i am not racing amongst as many as 200 Racers seeking a RESULT !

    When you consider that the TDF went into Italy for a MTF then had the rest day there before a return over the highest Pass ever , , there is a difficult job to ensure that Grass Bales are in the right places . BUT , when you have ” Accredited Photo Vehicles driving towards you , on the wrong side of the road , AFTER the RACE WAS FINISHED , then you know there is a PROBLEM about the ATTITUDE of the ” Accredited “!

    Next day at their Hotel , there was a shouting match , and a Team Manager thought that thius Aussie was out of place , after all , he wants his team to get GOOD Publicity , AND , it was not his Problem ! Well Patrick , how many of YOUR RACERS , were the victim of a ” SELF ENTITLED F+^KUP , since ?

    Daily , there are RACERS on the roads , Worldwide , TRAINING , AND , no Driver knows to whom they are inflicting a ” PUNISHMENT PASS “! FACT is they don’t care ! If a Mothe/Parentr can run down their child , in their own driveway , WHY would they be more careful on the roads ?

    Just today , the Victorian Police are shown on TV , finding the vehicle of the ” Hit & Run ” of Friday 25th March 2016 , YET , when they find the driver , will they BE ALLOWED to charge thatr driver with VEHICULAR MURDER ?

    UCI , in the form of ” @BrianCooksonUCI , tweets , get well soon to Lady Racers ” yet , the guys from Alpecin & the French Racer last weeks ? AS a person , Brian knows the risks Cyclists run , each time they take to the roads , , he even rides the routes the Pro Racers take near UCI HQ at Aigle in Swiss HeidiLand ! @GaudryTracey , rides the Beach Road , when at home , , so THEY KNOW that there are TOO MANY RISKS for Cyclists on the WORLDWIDE ROAD SYSTEMS !

    WHY , when i repeatedly , invade these comment sections , with a request for people to download ” Placards ” from VisionZeroWorldWide and get the Racers to stand with them , for Photos , , do i fail to see people , visit Facebook to either CHOOSE an appropriate item , or , create their own ?

    Only ONCE , have i seen any other , Photo Pro Racers with ” PLACARDS ” , and then load them to the Facebook site , such as “Stayingsafeat1.5 “! Hundreds of Pro Racers photoed , and yet i have only seen Alberto C. put the photo on His Facebook Wall !

    As a ” Minority of ONE ” , i bleat about SAFETY for PEOPLE ON BIKES , yet , Pro Racers , are PEOPLE ON BIKES ! Do they ask their FANS , to be kind to other People on BIKES ?


    UCI , could HELP ALL CYCLISTS , yet it appears they cannot even HELP those that PAY THEIR SALARIES !

    The gravy train is about to derail !

    Draft Regs for ALL Cyclists , ensure that they can ride WORLDWIDE , without an A. & E. Visit , THEN , those that have the ” SELF ENTITLED ATTITUDE ” to People on BIKES , will RESPECT THEIR SURVIVAL , wherever they are riding!

    Daily , there are more and more Cyclists on the roads , WORLDWIDE ! NO Driver knows on whom they are inflicting a ” Punishment Pass ” , TIME THAT THEY KNEW that a Penitentiary is THEIR DESTINATION if they CHOOSE to do that !

  • Dorian Jenneker

    Here’s a question – when last has one of the cyclists actually used a neutral service vehicle? If they are hardly used, then do we need them in the race?

    Not at all implying that neutral service was at fault in this case, but rather thinking of ways to reduce the number of vehicles surrounding the cyclists…

    • V.I. Lenin

      Quite frequently. Bear in mind that watching on TV you only see a minute fraction of the race. Also, bear in mind that if there is no neutral service, then there will be even more pressure by team managers to be allowed to get up to breaks as soon as they are established. What’s better, one moto or car dropping in behind a break, or half a dozen cars pushing up past the peloton?

      • Dorian Jenneker

        Fair enough, V.I.
        I appreciate that we don’t see every minute of all the action, and that would mean us not being privy to seeing the neutral service vehicles in action.

        As you said, one moto dropping in behind a break vs a host of cars forcing through the peloton is definitely a much better option… yet we see 8 motos behind a break of 4 riders. In that case some serious consideration needs to be payed to those other motos – are they all necessary? Yes we need the commissaires & traffic officers, but if 5 of the 8 are photographers, then there is a serious problem. No amount of publicity makes up for the cost of a life.

        • V.I. Lenin

          My guess is that in that case (especially where you have a likely race-winning break) there is a group of four or five press photographers’ bikes, plus an official supervising them so that they can take turns to go in close and get on-the-move pictures one at a time. I don’t think I’ve come across any incidents resulting from that system, but it does have the striking visual effect of creating a small peloton of motorbikes. They’d be sent off in front if the gap closed, and would go ahead anyway if it was close to the finish (they’re mostly the same photographers who will be taking pictures from behind the finish line) or on the approach to known spectacular viewpoints.
          Apocryphally, many of the moto riders for photographers make a living the rest of the time driving paparazzi chasing celebrities round town. To ride in a race convoy they need to hold a licence from their national federation and for WorldTour events they have to undergo UCI convoy training (this is a recent change to the rules – it used to be permissible with a press card alone).

      • ebbe

        Indeed! Moreover, there’s a lot to say for MORE neutral service cars/bikes, but only one team car (per team). All that is needed is agreement on a standard axle system. Currently a utopia, I know… But UCI is actually in a position to mandate such things in races.

        In this scenario, all team cars (one per team) are always behind the peloton. Break aways are supported by neutral cars/bikes (max one per group). In case of a flat, any neutral wheel should fit (11 speed cassettes already always fit). If they need a new bike, they can get a neutral bike (it’s up to the rider to pick a cleat system that works with the neutral bikes) or choose to wait for the peloton.

        I don’t think this will ever happen by the way ;-)

        • V.I. Lenin

          I’m an old commie so I’d be happy with making the whole field ride identical red and white Colnagos, obviously.

          As a (much lower level) commissaire, team cars (and team car drivers) scare me far more than any of the moto riders I’ve worked with.

        • Or we could really go old school, and riders can carry frame pumps and spare tubs around their shoulders.

          • ebbe

            Self reliant races! Sounds awesome ;-)

  • ebbe

    I agree with everything that was said in this article! Good job Neal

  • J Evans

    The thing about this is that it was so predictable: we’ve had so many other instances like this recently.

    It is not necessary to have so many photo motorbikes: drastically reduce the amount and all photos to be shared with all media.

    The UCI did nothing – or nothing effective – as all these incidents happened.

    Meanwhile, they were spending their time dealing with the non-existent dangers posed by the weather.

  • Giulio Del Fava

    I blame the organisers and sponsors soley for this crash. Sponsors pay money to see there brand on TV and in photos after the race. Limiting the amount of moving motos and making more stationary cameras will limit race traffic and keep riders safe. But the UCI will not do that as they make most of the money from sponsors and TV coverage. The only way to stop this from happening is targeting there pockets by Limiting still photo motos on the road as well as setting speed limits for race traffic and possibly using vehicles with speed governors.

  • J Evans

    Excellent article. Thank you.

    Scandalous that the UCI requires so little of moto riders
    before they are allowed to be present in a race.

    And disgusting that they have done nothing up until now despite
    so many incidents.

    Yet totally unsurprising: the UCI is simply a terrible
    organisation – a massively negative influence on cycling. And it has been for
    so long.

    Far too busy trying to make money.

    Have written to the UCI – great idea. Just send them a quick
    e mail.

  • brucegr

    – racers generally wear ear phones now, so their directional hearing is compromised. They are very likely not to hear or correctly judge where a motorbike or car is.
    – from my viewing, it appears many of these accidents occur when a motorbike is passing riders….and I am stunned how fast some try and get past. I think everyone realizes slow passes are safer.
    – reduce the number of times bikes have to pass large groups of riders.
    – passing or trying to get side profile footage on windy roads or corners, increases risk of crash.
    – it appears races now have more riders in them. this is obviously going to be more dangerous, esp on the narrower segments. race organizers and motorcycle riders have to revise protocols.
    – racers seem to be having more crashes these days. too often I see guys veer sharply at speed, and chop another guy’s wheel and bring him down. whatever happened to shoulder checks. if racers are going to have team directors screaming in their ears, they need to do shoulder checks even more so.
    – has racing strategy changed significantly over time? I don’t know. But obviously things are more dangerous when packs are larger. Breaks and smaller groups off the front will add safety, especially if race numbers are larger.
    – perish the thought, but could the day be coming when racers have to have compulsory mirrors! those that fit into the end of the handlebars seem unobtrusive enough.
    – it would appear easier to just train motorbike riders better. some are no doubt impulsive, inexperienced, and overly excitable. and they also wear ear phones so are out of touch with their environment.

    • V.I. Lenin

      Passing speed is a tricky one. A slow-moving moto is an immediate target for riders looking for the best of possible wheels to follow, so not only is there a danger of falsifying the racing, they are also likely to actually encourage riders to make sudden changes of direction or switch line (which is then also likely to result in the moto being trapped in the middle of the bunch, which is never going to be desirable). Obviously you want to spend as little time as possible riding side by side with the riders, unless you’re carrying a cameraman. In cases like Peter Sagan’s, it looked like it was excessive approach speed rather than passing speed (although also it looked a bit like might have been moving out to try and benefit from the slipstream of the moto he heard coming from behind) – what the rider probably needed to do was to go in slowly and accelerate out. The other thing is that you need audible warning when passing; I suspect that many moto riders may not realise how noisy it is in the middle of a bunch and trust to engine noise. I don’t think that their (vitally necessary) radios are going to be that much of a distraction – given that you’re already wearing a helmet which will be designed for optimal sound insulation, your hearing is pretty limited anyway.

      I am wondering whether the proliferation of traffic-calming measures has led organisers to use more moto marshals, since you can only cover one obstacle for the time it takes the convoy to pass plus the amount of time it takes to get back in front of the race, so maybe three per hour of racing if you are very lucky. Every marshal you see holding a yellow flag up at an obstacle needs to get back to the front of the race ASAP from the back of the convoy. Maybe in some races it might be possible to arrange passing detours but deviating onto open roads congested by spectators and the disruption caused by the race itself is very rarely going to be practical.

      I’m all for getting rid of rider radios (or possibly just team manager radios to reduce pressure on riders at least). Field sizes are tricky; we’ve been on 200 rider fields for a while now and they’re looking increasingly unwieldy even though everyone seems to see them as normal now – back in the 1970s they were more often below 150, on less fiddly roads, and nobody complained the races were inadequate as a result.

      Training and licensing are obviously important, but it appears that in this recent case the moto rider was someone with decades of experience working with the KBWB, not just some mate of the organisers, so it’s not going to be a panacea. There are ways of replacing some of the motos in races, but only at the cost of mobilising a LOT of manpower to do things that a few mobile people can do.

      • Dave

        Eliminating team-rider verbal radio is a must. So long as the safety/service aspects are taken care of by some other means then the rest can be eliminated as unnecessary assistance just like F1 is scaling back at the moment. Doing so would improve the racing, not diminish it, as it would no longer be a video game played by the sporting directors.

        That other measure for safety-related information would be child’s play for the private sector – a transmitter with three buttons for drink/food required, mechanical help required and one for emergency, all of which would send the rider’s ID and GPS location plus a transponder ID of the nearest support vehicles. Even once ruggedised, it should be possible to do no larger than a modern smartphone with a case on.

        Reducing the size of teams in top-level races from nine to eight would be a good next step. That is the difference between needing one team car and two.

        However, the bulk of the action needs to come from the leadership of the sport – which only serves to raise the question of who is leading the sport?

    • davem

      There should be fewer camera bikes, 1 for official photos is enough.
      I also think we can live with 3 TV bikes, break, peloton and a spare. There is always the helicopter as well.
      still need enough medical and outriders to cover if the race breaks up,
      rolling road closures required more bikes than if the whole course is
      closed. There have been several crashes where the medical moto was the
      first there by minutes compared to when the medical car made it through.
      riders also need to stop drafting up and swinging by slowing motos by
      20cm leaving them no where to manoeuvre, giving space goes both ways.
      There has been 2 or 3 crashes recently where the moto was basically
      forced off the side of the road by riders as they passed in an effort to
      keep out of their way. In the KBK crash the moto was already giving 4m
      of space and got ridden into.

  • H.E. Pennypacker

    Well done, Neal. Very well done.

  • De Waffle Stoemper

    Anyone else notice this Shimano moto hitting Terpstra this past weekend? WHY did this moto feel inclined to pass the riders in this section. So dangerous. I think the rule changes should be focused around when not to pass riders, and the speed at which they pass.

    • V.I. Lenin

      He had been caught in a position where he would be helping Cancellara come back up to Terpstra (I’ve not viewed much before that point to see how he got there in the first place). He needed to get into the gap behind the front group where he belonged. And there aren’t many straight stretches up the Kwaremont where you can see there’s a gap to go into. He was leaning on the horn, and there was no contact between them. It wasn’t ideal, but ask Terpstra if he’d rather have done 3 km of rough pave with no service right behind him, and if he’d have welcomed Cancellara being towed up to him?

  • Winky

    One thing not mentioned is the type of motorbikes they use. They all seem to be these enormous 1000cc+ lounge-chair tourers. Wouldn’t something smaller and more nimble be better?

    • V.I. Lenin

      Not really. A 600 would be OK, but the difference would be minimal; they’ve still 180-200 Kg and the same overall size, and you’re still going to have to carry a lot of kit around. The “adventure” style, GS1200 type is also common. You want something that’s not going to stall while carrying a pillion and called on to make a sudden acceleration without risking fluffing a gear change, which is what a low-tuned, torquey big engine will give you. In cases where you have an active pillion rider like a cameraman, even more so – you want something that isn’t going to wave from side to side when your self-loading luggage is squirming around trying to do his or her job at a low speed. Low centre of gravity and not too twitchy.

      • Winky

        Fair enough. You’re probably right. Perhaps some of them could be smaller but you make good points about functionality. I think to limit the number of photo bikes would be a start. Put the licences on some sort of roster with image sharing agreements etc.

        • V.I. Lenin

          I’m repeating myself all over the net here but I think that the press photo bikes, while prominent in terms of numbers and tending to form conspicuous bunches, don’t seem to be the ones causing/involved in the accidents. It might make sense, but it’s a competitive business within a competitive business – picture editors don’t want the same picture all the other papers have – maybe they’ll just use show the tennis instead. How important is that? Maybe not so much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a thing. Not worth a life in isolation, obviously, but is hard to calculate the cost of bleeding a sport dry of publicity either.
          What I’m struggling towards is that it’s tutto un complesso di cose, as the song says – a whole bunch of factors all mixed up together. I don’t think you can usefully look at any aspects in isolation. Which means that the quick fixes lots of people are jumping up and down for are unlikely to make any difference. Is the current crop of motorbike-related incidents even more than one of those clusters that just happen in random distributions? (I am not a statistician, but I think we’re into the territory of small sample sizes here.) We can all impose our particular prejudices and prejudgements on what we see (as this and other related BTL commentary demonstrates more than adequately).

  • aranwatson

    Thank you for this thoughtful piece after the escalation of these tragedies. Cookson, the cycling world is looking at you now.

  • Winky

    To reduce (but not eliminate) the need for traffic marshals, the roads leading to the traffic furniture on the course could be pre-marked with a distinctive (blue?) temporary road paint that gives riders in the peloton plenty of time to move to the side. Think of a long (20m?) painted arrowhead, painted pointing from (say) a traffic island back towards the riders that guides them to either side. Basically, the “rule” would be that if you’re riding on the blue paint, you’re about to hit something, so don’t.

    Everything that reduces exposure to motos is a benefit.

  • DJP

    Terrible news. Here is the interview with Antoine’s DS . RIP. https://youtu.be/84ZJTfbMFuE

  • Stuttgart5

    To UCI:

    Cycling is one of the most dangerous sports in the world.
    And it’s been getting worse. I have been complaining and writing about too many
    vehicles inside the race for about 10 years. Approximately 5 years ago, Gerard
    Vroomen wrote about eliminating team vehicles, letting riders rely on bikes
    designed tough enough to make it through an entire race. I see races mostly on
    TV, and thus see a very small part of the action. Even from my vantage point, I
    see atrocious driving very frequently. The worst behavior I notice is motos
    passing riders at very high speed.

    I have never been one who complains about the UCI, because I’m a
    spectator., and just watch my team race. But you have been totally negligent in
    this matter. You should all be replaced. You are completely useless helping
    bike racers reduce their injury rate. And they have the highest rate of any
    sport. Fans love the riders and it appears that you don’t care about them at

    There has been a call to action by an American
    writer – Neal Rogers. I hope he is successful in replacing all in the UCI who
    have sat on their hands while the riders face more danger every day. Why
    haven’t you taken any responsibility to improve safety? What do you do that is
    more important? I suppose that would be to maximize profit. You just look like greedy bastards today

  • OhRoie

    If this had happened in NSW, or indeed Australia, the UCI, or the race organisers may have a very serious case to answer to the local work health and safety regulator. The fact that 10 or so people have had accidents from being hit by motos in the peloton in the last 12 months, some of them suffering serious injuries, and NOTHING has been done to assess the root cause, or address the problem could end up with someone in jail, or a hefty fine. In fact, if this happened in NSW, I’d be surprised if it didn’t end up in jail for this. And I’m not talking about the guy driving the moto.

    • Dave

      If it happened in NSW, the deceased bloke’s family would be fined if he wasn’t carrying his driver’s licence.

  • John Senior

    Jesus!!! How hard can it be for Brian Cookson to look at the evidence and say enough is enough! These are the rules – they’re about the safety of riders – if you don’t like them you shouldn’t be there. Limit the number of motos, introduce speed and distance regulations, get TV companies to look at the use of drones,share the footage and for Gods sake make sure theres a proper qualification!!!! One death is too many – it needs to be the last!!

  • Cristiano Silva Conrado Moreir

    I am a very experienced motorbike rider, road bike rider and a emergency ICU medic and i think there is much already said but i think it is lacking the most important points.

    1 – The speed the cars and motorbikes are using to overtake the pelotoon and bike groups sometimes is very high. The relative speed diference between cars and bikes is too big and many times i see the the bike riders are not seeing that cars and motorbikes coming from behind.
    I recommend that any overtake should be avoided by default and performed only when strictly required, only by official race secure staff and preeeded by all necessary procedure to alert the cyclists the car/motorbike is coming.
    The speed used to overtake the cyclists should be barely superior than that group, on that momeent. THAT IS INDISPENSABLE!
    Should be previous knowledge of the points of the route where is safe or not to overtake cyclists.

    2 – To much motorbikes, cars, are constantly staying beside and too close the cyclists groups for photos, TV broadcast or assistance.
    TV broadcast motorbikes should stay in front or behind the group, with safe distance.
    Motorbikes o cars should not advance beside the cyclists for photos or assistance, the assistance cars should stay behind the group and behind the race director’s cars, If there is any mechanical or feed/hydratation needed, the cyclist should slow the speed or wait beside the road until the assistance arrives.
    Should be prohibited team cars to advance besides the cyclists to talk, feed or any moving assistance.
    When there is a cyclist receiving biddons beside a team car, another cars should wait before overtaking that.
    I think they should use he radios freely for comms and hydratation/feeding should be restrict to more numerous road zones, in order to make the in cars feeding not necessary.
    It is possible to create a simple plastic device what make impossible the energy transfer between the car/motorbike assistance and cyclist, in order to discourage the constant visits to the convoy. (ex: a short wire, a single direction opening device where the cyclist needs to push from behind to displace the biddon).

    3 – Sometimes looks like i see team cars competing for a place more near from the cyclists.
    The team cars places should be fixed by some criteria and in case of some changing for any reason during the race, the return to the stabilished places should be pacefull, safe and signalized.

    4 – In case of escape groups, the overtaking of the main group by team cars should be performed only in safe places.
    I think it is safer to find detours in case of scapes and reach it without the need of dangerous overtaking of the pelotoon.
    In races placed in very large roads it is a minor problem but a major one in others.
    Should be created a convention to limit the cyclists on only one side of two way roads letting the staff with some space.
    Should be created a convention where the overtakes should be performed only by right or left, always with proper signalization, lights and noise.

    5 – For the danger road zones a llight device with different colours is easy to build and place in a staff motorbike to ride in front of the pelotoons, signalizig a scale of dangers, (ex: Fast Red Strobe = Very Tight Turn).

    The options are numerous, i think that ones above are simple, cheap and effective.
    I wish somebody who can make it work read this.

    Cristiano SIlva Conrado Moreira



    • Dave

      Dude, fix your keyboard.

  • THIS response from @BrianCooksonUCI does little to HELP !


    With this item , i would agree :
    A really important aspect of this is not to jump to conclusions without knowing the full facts. I have to say that, from first reports, this incident does not appear to be as simple a case as many seem to think.

    YET , with the UCI staff available , to read comments HERE , there is no mention of ANY UCI thought about the areas where the RACERS TRAIN ! To arrive at a point that a RACER has to contribute to UCI Coffers , the ” Newbies ” HAVE TO USE THE ROADS !

    Brian talks of the ” National Fed.s ” , yet what proposals has he made at Ponferrada & Virginia , for Cyclist Safety on the ROADS ?

    As a ” Minority of ONE ” , i was emailing &tweeting Brian , before Mc q was tipped out of Aigle . In 2014 , during the Tour de Romandie , i visited his office and sat with him in the Restaurant there for a considerable period . Amongst the replies to my ” suggestions ” was the idea of following the FIFA campaign , ” RESPECT ” , as a way to get more cooperation on the Roads !

    It was my assertion , that the UCI Conference at Ponferrada , should have ” Road Safety Proposals ” on that agenda . Anyone there , would have seen me ” Canvassing ” the Delegates with ” VisionZeroWorldWide Placards ” ! Many of those attending these Conferences remarked on their OWN LOSSES of Personal Relationships to TRAFFIC VIOLENCE !

    Many of those Delegates posed holdiong these ” Placards ” , yet , do you see the photos on THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA ?

    With ALL these Photos on ” VisionZeroWorldwide ” available to download , WHY , do those reading this , FAIL to download , then forward a request that the subject shown , UPLOAD to their SOCIAL MEDIA ? A job i could do ? That could be seen as self serving , BUT , requests coming from outsiders , in NUMBERS , does anyone doubt that there would be results ?

    When i can get these people to pose , and there were people like Alain P. that declined , HOW HARD , would it be to have 20 or 30 requests to Perico & Big Mig , gain a RESULT ?

    COPY & PASTE , to social media is SO HARD ? It takes more effort to put on YOUR RACE SHOES !

    Google VisionZeroWorldWide , take a look at those photos , THEN ACT !

    It could be YOU that makes the headlines , when the next COWARD makes a punishment pass , in an area that Policing Authorities think of those PEOPLE on BIKES as Suicidal Maniacs that cause them PAPERWORK !

    BTW , i would rather be out on my bike , rather than trying to recruit assidstance to ENSURE my Safety , whilst riding the roads !

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    I see no need for motos or support vehicles. It’s entirely too dangerous having bicycles and motor vehicles mixed up together.

  • Dan Ingle

    Ha! you talk to Jason Jenkins re this? He and media motos are as big a problem out there as a guy off the street – which is frankly what they are… crashed motos, lack of protocol knowledge and camera men who can’t shoot so they sit backwards on a moto! He is just what the problem is, a smooth tongue and sales pitch has gotten them in the peloton. Actual photo of them in action below I got from their FB


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