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Daily News Digest

by Shane Stokes

March 29, 2016

NEWS SUPPORTED BY

In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Sagan: Demoitié’s death is a tragic reminder that riders’ safety must be an absolute priority; Shock, sadness and calls for change: Cycling world reacts to death of Antoine Demoitié; Marcel Kittel calls for increased safety in professional cycling; Commentary: Gent-Wevelgem fatality a tragedy that has been a long time coming; Rouleur questions value of UCI’s driving course; Porte: I think that I showed my form is good; Kittel and Martin targeting stage wins in Driedaagse De Panne; Trolley incident causes Lampaert to miss the northern Classics; Photo gallery: with yet another win in Gent-Wevelgem, Boels-Dolmans continues winning streak; Cancellara says Gent-Wevelgem workout will help set him up for Flanders; Show us your scars – Tony Gallopin; Gent-Wevelgem 2016 winner Chantal Blaak interviewed; Sagan introduces his team-mates; Top 10 Incredible Cycling World Records!

Gent - Wevelgem 2016

Sagan: Demoitié’s death is a tragic reminder that riders’ safety must be an absolute priority

by Shane Stokes

Commenting after the tragic passing of Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider Antoine Demoitié on Sunday, Peter Sagan said that the Belgian’s passing overshadowed the win he took in Gent-Wevelgem.

Sagan has been chasing a victory since taking the world road race title in Richmond last September. He finally had his breakthrough on Sunday, winning a four man sprint, but then heard what happened to Demoitié. The 25-year old crashed and a motorbike driving behind was unable to stop in time, hitting him. He passed away Sunday evening.

“Yesterday should have been one of my happiest days as professional rider: I scored my first victory wearing the UCI World Champion jersey at Gent-Wevelgem,” said Sagan via his Facebook page.

“However, my initial joy was short-lived when I heard about the incident that involved young Belgian rider Antoine Demoitié at the same race. Apparently, Antoine crashed and was then, reportedly, ran over by a following motorbike.

“The news of his death saddened me and I would like to express my deepest condolences to his wife, family, friends and team. While we have to wait for the official investigation to clarify the exact circumstances of the incident, I think this is a tragic reminder to all involved in the sport of cycling that the safety of the riders must be their absolute priority.”

The CyclingTips Daily News Digest features the most important and interesting news and content from around the cycling world, published every weekday morning at 9am AEST. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Today’s feature image is from Gent-Wevelgem and was taken by Kristof Ramon.

  • Simon Bird

    “A recent freak accent affecting Yves Lampaert”. Can sympathise – I was once hospitalised with a bout of Cockney, and a friend was left with a permanent drawl after he picked up a nasty case of Texan. Dangerous stuff.

  • Jii

    The death of Antoine is a tragedy, and while the specific details of the incident may have meant the impact was unavoidable, a fatal accident involving a rider and race motorbike has seemed to be foreshadowed by numerous incidents that seemed to be met with a limited response.

    Was a fatality avoidable is probably not quantifiable but certainly enough wasn’t done after the near misses.

    One risk reduction strategy would be (the long resisted) on bike cameras, linked to a producer van, which would keep TV coverage happy while reducing the number of motos.

    Other ideas?

  • Andy B

    Happy to see Sagan win over the weekend
    Hopefully there will be more to come!

  • Arfy

    If for no other reason, then the UCI should think about this. How can you look the parents of young kids in the eye and tell them they should get their kids into bike racing when the riders at the top of the sport are constantly cheating death in training and in races? It makes other sports like NRL, AFL, NFL, Formula 1, and Moto GP look tame in comparison, and the motorsports in particular have come a long way in the past 20 years because of their focus on participant safety. The UCI needs a sharp shift in mentality.

    • Andy B

      Unfortunately it can be a pretty dangerous sport even without the exposure of motorbikes
      But without wrapping us in cotton wool its hard to see the answer for a permanent fix
      I was unlucky enough to be taken out on the weekend in a local club race, hitting the deck at 40km/h is pretty hard on the body
      I’ve never felt that beaten up in other sports I’ve played

      • Arfy

        You’re never going to eliminate all risk and still have the adrenaline rush, so it makes sense to have a central body to review proposed solutions, ensuring that the essence of the sport isn’t diluted for the sake of risk of minor injury. But other sports are already there and want to protect their poster athletes as they’re the draw-cards for the sports, the money-makers, the ones the kids idolise. It’s bad enough a rider was killed, but imagine if it was Sagan – you’d think cycling would want to do the same.

        • Dave

          Indeed.

          I can’t remember the last time a cricket umpire or football writer injured or killed a player. Not good news for cycling in the fight to win the allegiance of those talented teenage athletes who could succeed at any sport but have to pick one or two sports to focus on.

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