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September 24, 2017
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  • Will

    This is absolutely terrible news. Thoughts with his family. I don’t know what the solution is here but there will surely be repercussions.

  • Il_falcone

    It was only a question when not if that happens. Seeing the big number of motorcycles at races (also at todays Gent – Wevelgem) buzzing around the riders, passing them at incredible speeds or blocking the road because all those motorcycles obstruct each other always makes me wonder who has an interest in accrediting so many of them to a race and obviously permitting them to do what ever they like. There must be some considerable financial interests involved because otherwise I can’t understand how some healthy brain can think that this works out in a safe manner.

    Rest in peace Antoine!

  • dypeterc

    Condolences to his family. This is an avoidable tragedy that was foreshadowed by all the incidents in 2015. The moto driver should be convicted to the fullest extent along with race organizers.

    The caravan should be limited and not allowed within a certain distance of the peleton. The head referee car should also maintain a conservative distance holding the caravan aback. The caravan should also be held back when riders have mechanicals so riders don’t have to navigate through traffic to rejoin the peleton.

    The most unfortunate thing is that it was totally preventable and it still happened. Things need to change immediately.

  • Tom

    Whilst I understand all the commentary about crucifying the motorcyclist, I wonder if it’s taking the Easter theme a little too far!
    As consumers we want more and more content, are we then implicated.

    Let’s what until the entire story becomes available and focus on supporting the family, friends, colleagues and lovers of this great sport.

    As consumers we want more and more content, are we the implicated.

    • Gibby

      Tom, I watch a lot of races and the most content I ever get is about 3 cameras plus the helicopter. Maybe 4 moto-cams if its a large peloton. The question the UCI and race organizers need to ask themselves is this; what is the MINIMUM we need? Who is extraneous? Who shouldn’t be there? For starters, get rid of the neutral service cars and motos. They are a nuisance and straight-up advertising. Perhaps once or twice in the last five years Ive seen a rider take a wheel from them, and never someone in contention for the GC.

      • Tom

        In Australia the coverage is quite poor, but if you ever get the chance to get to one of the classics, or big stage races, you’ll see helicopters, what seems like hundreds of bikes & cars, some with neutral service, some with vip’s, some with photographers, some with medics and some are the official bikes.
        You need bikes to get the tv feed up to the helicopters, so that we get pictures, and there an awful lot of wheel changes that we never see on tv, bit like the world t20, if it’s not a star team or player, it doesn’t get reported!
        Yes their must be things that the UCI and event organisers can do, so let’s see what they do…

        • Gibby

          I have been to major races in person in Europe, the US, and Australia. Of course I’m not privy to the backstage, so I don’t know the role of each vehicle, but it seems to me that there are far too many of them. If the race organizer is sued by his family, and they most certainly will be, then we will see some changes.

          • An article I wrote a couple years ago showing how the race is televised and how many vehicles sometimes need to be involved: https://cyclingtips.com/2013/07/eyes-in-the-sky-how-the-tour-de-france-is-broadcast-to-the-world/

          • An article I wrote a couple years ago showing how the race is televised and how many vehicles sometimes need to be involved – https://cyclingtips.com/2013/07/eyes-in-the-sky-how-the-tour-de-france-is-broadcast-to-the-world/

            • Gibby

              So by that count, (and we are talking about the TDF, which is generally amongst the largest pelotons of the season) there are 7 motos needed to feed Seymour. At todays Gent-Wevelgem at the 10K mark, I counted 8 motos in front of the 4-man lead group, 4 directly behind, and a Shimano neutral service car stalking. In front of the chase, there were 3 more motos. That’s 15 motos just in the front of the group. Of course, we need sweeps in front for safety, so that is a necessity. My point is this: who is extraneous? A young man lost his life today and the people who are giving the thumbs up to all those thousand-pound vehicles need to make some serious evaluations of who should be there and who should not.

              • Tom

                I think the point, and i tried to make it previously, let’s wait for the facts. What we know, the rider crashed and a following motorbike ran over him. What we don’t know, is how close the motorbike was, what caused the rider to crash. But think of this, if you crash in a race, there is sometime likely to be following, a car would have been worse (although not in this case) or a pack of chasing bike riders. This sport is inherently dangerous, and what might have simply happened here, was the rider lost control on a bend/loose surface, crashed and unfortunately into the path of motorbike following, who i’m sure didn’t do it on purpose.
                So let’s wait for the facts, before buying a few nails and a couple of pieces of wood from bunnings.

                • G3K762

                  I do understand the need for restraint, but there is never an excuse to hit a rider who is already on the ground. If you do, you are too close. If you run up on someone, you are too **** close. As for rounding a bend, that’s not an excuse either. If you can’t see around a bend, you slow down.

                  Still, it is conceivable that something very odd occurred. Ultimately, the rider is dead, his family suffers and the moto driver is surely suffering as well. I’m sure he is heartbroken as well.

                  There is no upside to this sad story.

                  • Tom

                    So now we have a slightly clearer picture, and it one of 4 riders falling, and the moto rider behind having to try and avoid them all, which he did, but his bike fell on the rider! For once in this new world of fast news, let’s pause, reflect and remember, instead of jumping to conclusions.

                    • G3K762

                      No disrespect intended, but there was absolutely no “jumping to conclusions”. In fact, you made my point for me. I said that the moto was too close. The moto did NOT avoid them. Even if he avoided striking him directly, he had to come to a stop close enough to fall upon him and kill him. If your moto is close enough that when it falls over, it kills a rider, guess what? You’re too close.

                    • Danny D.

                      There was no chance for moto driver to avoid them, they were going about 45mph, when accident occurs and it is no way to keep such breaking distance in peloton. Moto rider was guy with more than 30 years of experiences in peloton. You cant ban moto, cars … many fans would go away because no coverage, no coverage no sponzors, no sponzors no money for races, racers, cycling publicity … riders go away, many races ends up and there will be just bunch of amateurs, who nobody will know. Pro cycling is not just a sport its bussiness too and perhaps primarily. What happens its very sad, but these things happen and it was bad coincidence, but no ones fault. I dont think, there is any chance to avoid such accidents in close future, but something about more safety should be definitely done, because there were recently incidents (Sagan…)indicating that rules for movement in peloton needs to be renew.

                    • G3K762

                      Danny, please think about what you wrote. Safe driving requires adequate spacing to avoid collisions. The very conditions in the peloton make that impossible. Riders are traveling fast, only an elbow’s distance apart. Crashes are inevitable and riders accept them as an occupational hazard.

                      However, collisions with cars and motos are not. The fact that “there was no chance for the moto to avoid them ” was dead wrong. He could and should have avoided it by not being so close at that speed, period. It’s not that hard a concept. If you are operating a motor vehicle and you do not have adequate braking distance, you are driving too damned close. That is the crux of the problem. Cars and motos too close to the riders, and most accidents could be avoided with safe distance and attentiveness.

                      In not arguing for fewer vehicles. I don’t know that is the answer. I get the need for high tech coverage and photography. There are so many more angles and views today that when I started watching in the 80s. Coverage is fantastic today and I don’t want to go back to a couple bikes catching the action and a brief highlight program once a week on television. Nonetheless, they must take whatever actions necessary to improve rider safety by giving the autos to pass only when safe to do so and maintain safe space. Most of these mishaps are avoidable.

      • Dave

        It is a lot better to have a couple of neutral service cars or bikes than a second car on the road for each team.

        The only alternative is to allow riders to rejoin at the start of the following day with a time penalty like the Rally2 rules used for some World Rally Championship events to prevent the field becoming unviably small.

    • poisonjunction

      Right Tom lets WAIT!! What for, like ‘we’ still wait for the outcome of all the past offences against professional racing cyclist’s?

      NOTHING much seems to come of waiting. ACTION would be a lot better, rather than sit on our respective hands.

      Imahgine Tom, YOU are laying on the ground shocked, barely conscious from hitting the ground HARD, and hey what’s a 1000cc 2 or 3 cwt motor bike doing on top of me? Think about that, before advocate WAITING.

      • Tom

        Ah, someone who still want to prosecute pro riders for past offences, well that list is huge, in fact most, so good luck with that. I work in medicine as well as a good background of road cycling, and not jumping to conclusions is appropriate in most cases.
        I have seen the effects of guys drafting trucks, and then sliding under them, so I do have an understanding, arguably more than you.
        We do not know the circumstances, was he on a bend, and came down, slid across the road, at the speeds these guys do, not all accidents can be avoided. I am advocating wait until the facts are disclosed.

        • poisonjunction

          ‘someone who still wants to prosecute pro riders for past offence’ . . .

          perhaps you should read comments more carefully before you

          MISQUOTE – it actually reads . . . . . . . . . . .

          ‘past offences AGAINST professional racing cyclists’ . . . . . .

          meaning the mounting number of injuries inflicted on them by ancilliary race vehicles!

          As for jumping to conclusions, here we are discussing injuries to cyclists caused by race vehicles – I do NOT jump to conclusions . . . I quote reports, you are too busy advocating ‘waiting’ and don’t get to read them – please try to keep up.

          In fact misquoting me and judging by comments you have made since, and others responses to you here . . . you might consider using the editing facility to prevent your further embarassment!

  • Michele

    A tragedy.

    As others have commented, it was unfortunately a matter of when, not if.

    The whole race convoy setup needs to be looked at.

    I’m not going to comment on this tragic incident, but Paul Maunder did a piece in Rouleur 59 about what it takes to be accredited to drive a car / ride a Moto bike in the pro peloton race convoy.

    He sat through the UCI run course himself. And after enduring a PowerPoint presentation and a discussion that lasted a couple of hours, he was cleared to drive.

    That is all it takes.

    The journalist was surprised at the lack of training, and felt it was only run so the UCI could keep their insurance premium down.

    Not good enough.

    • Tom

      Not sure what else you can do re training. Everyone given the accreditation would have a licence to drive their vehicle, and a couple of hours would be more than long enough to explain the ‘very simple’ rules pertaining to cycle races. Its fair to say, no-one would be trying to harm anyone else, and an awful lot of those accredited are ex pro’s.
      Something i’m sure will be done, but i can’t see the quantity being reduced, without the photo’s, the tv footage, there will be no sponsors.

      • Michele

        The journo is question felt perhaps some advanced car handling training.

        He certainly didn’t feel he was competent enough to drive a car in the race convoy – yet he had a certificate from the UCI saying otherwise.

        It’s an interesting read; not sure if it’s on their website.

        • touristeroutier

          The Rouleur article was interesting, but he was lucky to at least have a presentation. Not all federations even offer these (it isn’t just the UCI that issues licenses); mine was issued with a review of my driving history and a background check, but I was driving in caravans before licenses were required. Like I stated above, the only way to really learn how to do it, is to do it. It helps to have been a racer who has ridden in high level races with caravans, but this doesn’t guarantee success.

          Hopefully one gets assigned lower level roles, and move up the chain to other roles as one gains experience. I know several people who are barred from driving or have been demoted due to incidents or lack of skill. But unless you are in Europe, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to hone and build your skills.

          Having vehicles suitable for driving a particular course helps, but often the vehicles are provided by race sponsors. When one gets the wrong vehicle, it makes the job that much harder.

          There are better sources to learn driving skills than the cycling federations; if one wants handling skills, go to an auto race or advanced driving school; the UCI isn’t going to have this expertise. All the cycling federations can do is set operational guidelines and rule enforcement.

        • Dave

          Even if there’s no actual training, some sort of practical assessment should be necessary.

          Perhaps Maunder should give the UCI two weeks notice to show him a good reason he shouldn’t report his concerns to their insurers. Making token gestures to get cheaper premiums without actually reducing risks is a form of fraud.

    • Sean Doyle

      Not everyone with a license actually knows how to drive in normal conditions let alone the extra pressure and scenarios encountered in chasing pelotons.

  • touristeroutier

    This is a huge tragedy, but please do not be too quick to judge, and make gross generalizations until more details are revealed. He was struck by a moto after he crashed, but do we know which moto hit him, and what the role of that moto was?

    I am writing the following from the perspective of someone who is/has been on staff at many UCI sanctioned races. I am licensed to drive a vehicle in race caravans. I am not a moto driver, but personally know many of them, and most are dedicated, experienced, and very good at what they do.

    Yes, there are a lot of vehicles in the caravan, but for the most part, they serve a valuable purpose. Most motos are in the caravan for safety and security as race marshals or police; yes there are media motos, but they are typically vastly outnumbered by race officials, marshals and police, and communicate via radios and face to face conversation. Motos are used because they can maneuver more easily through the caravan and racers than cars. The police and marshals close intersections, push back crowds on non-barricaded roads, put themselves in danger by standing in front of road furniture with their flags and whistles, and provide valuable to the officials and race management.

    Each vehicle’s movement in the caravan is monitored and controlled by the commissairs and the regulator. While it may look like they are clustered unnecessarily, this is typically episodic, strategic, and for safety; the situation is very dynamic. They are staged so they can move into place quickly and get out of the way quickly as needed, but it doesn’t always work as planned. Race situations change suddenly. Some are in front of the groups some, are behind the groups. It is easier for a vehicle to move aside and drop back than it is to move forward through the bunch.

    It is very easy to be an armchair critic, and quickly pass judgement. However, once you understand how traffic control and race regulation works, you’ll see things from a very different perspective.

    Not just anyone can drive in a caravan; while most drivers are dedicated, and experienced, you have to start somewhere. There is no way to learn how to drive in races without actually driving in races. One can be given instructions, and take classes, but until you do it, you have no idea of how difficult it really is. You need eyes on all sides of your head, riders and other vehicles quickly go in and out of blind spots, and sometimes you find yourself closer to them you had planned or anticipated.

    However, all of this said, with all of the recent incidents, the entire situation needs to be reviewed. But I believe that the review will find that most of the vehicles will be deemed necessary.

  • Robert Merkel

    Echoing CT’s condolences.

    Agreeing with all those cautioning against a rush to judgement.

    Neal’s piece states that there has been a growing trend of incidents involving race motos, but this is anecdotal at this point.

    I’d imagine that there will be the equivalent of a coronial inquest into this tragedy. I hope that professional cycling uses the opportunity to take a broader look at the issue of convoy safety.

  • cecil11

    I noticed it today and commented that its like the rider groups are enveloped by camera’s and cars so that they almost

    There was a long stretch of road with about 15 km left where you could see most of the lead groups in one shot, and the amount
    of cars and traffic surrounding the cyclists, including cars aggressively trying to move past groups of cyclists (often impatiently)
    was striking.

    I thought to myself that the camera view makes it look like the cyclists are on their own while in reality they are
    ensconsed by road traffic!!!!

    So the shock of a death takes on an added dimension to this aspect that I noted directly.

  • Jack Chevell

    This is so sad, more so because it feels like we all saw it coming.

    In terms of what can be done, it’s more difficult than just limiting motos. By far the majority are the ones securing the rolling road closure, which is extremely important for safety. They are skilled, often police riders, with a very tough job. Working their way through the whole convoy and bunch every time they stop to block a road. Better planning and more opportunities to pass, away from the peloton might alleviate the pressure, and as a consequence, closing speeds and danger.

  • David

    Tragedy. I was thinking, maybe an option for covering the races without that many motorcycles could be drones. I’m not saying that only drones but could be an extra hel p for race moments when the peloton is at high speeds and in narrow roads. I really don´t know the details of how drones work, but this tragedies just cant happen. RIP.

  • jay peay

    #EnoughisEnough – Rest in Peace Antoine Demoitié

    Where’s the video showing the crash? There must me some film given the number of aerial- and moto-cameras covering the race.

  • Beniskly

    This must stop, or it will stop the sport. Many approaches come to mind. There must be a serious study of the problem, and race organizers to be held accountable (someone must be held accountable with the authority to either not hold the race or eliminate some motor and some moto pilots) in order that real action is taken. The riders may have to strike in order to get needed controls in place. This cannot be part of bicycle racing. This is not an isolated incident, but the probable result of an on-going situation.

  • Marty ikin

    This is just getting crazy now , too many deaths , accidents , cycling needs to get this sorted … UCI DO SOMETHING


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