• RacingCondor

    And all for the lack of 4 bits of mesh fence and 50 foot of high vis tape.

    Again.

  • jules

    this isn’t complicated. everyone knows the bollard presents a hazard. as race organiser, you have a responsibility address the associated risk. you need resources to ensure that is done. who was responsible? were there enough resources?

    having race organisers investigate themselves presents a high risk of them covering up organisational factors that contributed to the failure – e.g. not enough resources, not enough time given to check the course. the standard “we’re very sorry, this shouldn’t have happened” response is useless and disingenuous without a proper, independent investigation and report. I won’t hold my breath.

    • Dave

      And it’s a pretty safe bet that the riders will take the start of stage 6 tonight as if nothing ever happened.

      Nobody else can care more about the riders’ safety than they can. The race organisers won’t do anything until the riders force them to – options include a sit down on the start line to delay the race, a slow ride, a neutralised finish (to be ‘won’ by an appointed representative who can address the media in Spanish, French and English) or even a walked finish.

      • jules

        unfortunately with the way pro cycling is structured it’s the race organisers who wield the real power and riders are just part of the chain gang. a rider protest will not achieve a lot.

        • PsiSquared

          Yup. Bicycle racing’s power structure is ass backwards, with the race organizers have far too much power. Sadly the race organizers won’t do anything unless their power is threatened or brand is potentially damaged.

        • Dave

          Horseshit.

          They’ll never know their power unless they use it. Forget the weak ‘traditional’ sit down protest on the start line which is only seen by the spectators on the ground at the start, they need to screw with the stage finish which will be on live TV all across the globe and cannot be left out of post-edited race summaries.

          Start damaging the race’s brand and the organiser will suddenly become a lot more accomodating. The cost of extra safety measures on a stage runs into thousands of €, the potential losses if they don’t could go into millions.

          • jules

            but organisers can choose which teams to invite. this inherently makes riders and teams insecure about rocking the boat. the UCI’s World Tour concept balances that out a bit, with WT teams automatically invited, but as we’ve seen – race organisers have the option not to seek WT status.

            I’m not saying they can’t protest at all, but the organisers know that the riders and teams will push only so far.

            • ebbe

              There’s another group who could “protest”, with a BIG impact: The media. Just refuse to cover any aspect of the race for one day, hitting the organisers (ASO in this case) where it hurts: Their exposure. I’d say that would be even more impactful than a rider protest. But of course… they’ll never do that

              • Dave

                Of course not.

                If the group whose interests are involved don’t care about it, why would anyone else step up on their behalf? Nobody can care about rider safety more than the riders.

                If representatives of the riders were to approach the media and ask for help in raising the profile of the issue (and offering some sort of favour in return) then that would be a different story.

                • ebbe

                  Yep

        • Saeba R.

          Although they have the power, do they have much financial strength? Is race promoting profitable?

          Honest question as I really don’t know.

  • Andy B

    This is ridiculous!!!!!
    Really wanted to see how he would go at the vuelta too

  • Matt Ghanivand

    This is beyond ridiculous! Surely in a Grand Tour the organisers very carefully plan the route and note all obstacles that are potentially hazardous to the race and then either remove them or signpost them! How many cars drive through in front of the riders and none of them noticed that stupid post!?!? The riders should protest for safer routes!

    • ebbe

      The UCI actually sends somebody to inspect the (safety of the) course, according to UCI rules 2.2.016/.092. In this case it was Thomas Rohregger. Guess he missed this unprotected and unsignaled pole sticking out of the ground?

      But I don’t think the responsibility lies solely with the UCI. The race organiser (both in this case and in Pais Vasco that’s ASO) should be responsible for the course first and foremost.

      • Dave

        It’s the perfect job for the UCI, the governing body of the sport.

        Perhaps if the commercial management of elite road cycling was licensed out to the private sector, the UCI’s resources might be better directed to the core functions of governing and regulating the sport.

        • ebbe

          Perhaps. But then again, the private sector isn’t doing too well either. Both Pais Vasco and La Vuelta are organised by ASO. ASO *and* UCI dropped the ball on both occasions

          • Dave

            If the UCI did not have so many conflicts of interest, they might be able to devote more of their resources to governing the sport – including overseeing ASO and the local contractors hired by ASO.

            At the moment, they can’t afford to confront ASO because it would jeopardise the two year truce that saved the WorldTour from collapsing at the end of this year. Rather than prolonging their ailing project at the cost of giving ground to ASO and RCS every couple of years, next time around they need to take a leading role (first, appoint a real leader as President in place of the current muppet) in negotiating a stable commercial rights licence with ASO (or a partnership led by ASO) which would have the two bodies as partners rather than adversaries. Think along the lines of F1 and the FIA, rather than the destructive 1996-2008 feud between CART and IndyCar.

            • ebbe

              Yep, I can agree with that

              One improvement I’d propose would be to pick a UCI president from a country that has no big WT/GC contenders or ties to big teams and federations. Another focal point would be to get the current mess (which they themselves are mostly responsible for) sorted before branching out into parts of the world where, honestly, cycling isn’t big and will never be big. Another would be to set up a proper business structure for teams, including the ability to earn fees on contracts for riders you’ve schooled. And of course; don’t make promises regarding women’s cycling that they just can’t keep… Etc etc. If the UCI need a commercial partner to do all this, as it seems they don’t have the smarts to do it themselves, so be it.

              But this is a much bigger issue than the one we’re talking about here, and that is: “Who was responsible for that exposed pole?” Technically, that’s only one: The organiser. But because UCI employs course inspectors who clearly missed it, I’ll happily give them a large portion of the blame as well. This could have ended Kruijswijk – a potential Grand Tour winner – his career or worse. Luckily it seems he’ll be fine, but we’ve seem worse results in several other incidents. Both organisers and the UCI need to stop treating riders like circus animals.

              • Dave

                For the UCI Presidency, the cycling world is such a mess that the best way to handle it would be to find someone who has built up the relevant experience outside of the cycling world.

                I’d like to suggest that the ideal candidate would be Tim May, the former Australian Test Cricketer. After his playing career he was the founding leader of the Australian Cricketers’ Association which successfully negotiated the first deal with Cricket Australia to professionalise cricket in Australia under a fixed revenue share model, and then went on to lead the creation of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations which has played a huge part in shaping the way that the rampant increase in cricket revenue has been handled over the last 15 years. He’s a deal maker who brings people together, and he has the experience at the level required.

                I’m sure there are other talented sports administrators out there with similar credentials, but May is the best man I know of. Ari Vatenan, the former rally driver who contested the presidency of the FIA when Jean Todt won the position, could be another possibility for a strong outsider, but not as experienced.

                And yes, I agree that the WorldTour (or its replacement) needs to consolidate rather than expand at this time. In a discussion a few weeks ago I put forward a suggestion for a balanced WT overhaul (balancing the needs of the traditional races and being a modern global sport accessible to international sponsors) with no overlapping races that would include:
                – the 3 grand tours.
                – the 5 monuments.
                – up to 3 races located on each continent (2 tours, or 1 tour and 2 classics) which in the case of Europe could be rotated yearly among those races currently holding WT status so they would be HC events in the off years like the major rallies rotating between the WRC and IRC.
                – teams allowed to opt out of two WT races each year, but never the same race in consecutive years.
                – teams allowed to enter an unlimited number of HC races, and Class 1 races in their home country.

                • ebbe

                  Although I would prefer somebody from a country that has no elite level teams or riders, Mr May (who I don’t know, so I’ll have to go with your description of him) sounds better than any recent UCI president I can actively remember. Indeed, there is no reason they should originate from the “cycling cosmos”

                  • Dave

                    The problem of ruling out anyone from a nation with elite cyclists or teams (or WT races?) is that the peloton in 2016 is much more international than it used to be, restricting the available talent pool by a huge margin.

                    If the United Nations can have a Secretary-General from a country which has peacekeepers deployed (Ban Ki-Moon, from the Republic of Korea) then the UCI can have a non-cycling administrator who comes from a country with cycling.

                    The ACA CEO after Tim May was Paul Marsh, who interestingly left the ACA when he was headhunted by the Australian Football League Players’ Association. So there is at least one sporting body out there which has recognised that expertise can come ahead of connections.

                    • ebbe

                      I’d prefer nobody from the same country as a WT team, or riders in UCI top 10, or GT favourites. Races are not neccesarily a problem, but they tend to be in the same countries that have WT teams anyway. Of course there are the newer “exotic” races, but I think we both agree they’re not neccesarily needed.

                      Having said that, obviously it depends very much on the person as well. Somebody from outside the cycling micro cosmos might be a lot less susceptible to playing favourites for his own country(wo)men. What’s much more important is avoiding clear “ties” to favourites, teams, sponsors or race organisers. Either financial, or family, or…

                      The manner in which the UCI (under the leadership of Cookson) is currently blatantly favouring British riders and teams is clearly hurting cycling. Yes, it’s great for cycling inside the British petri-dish, so anybody watching through British-coloured glasses would never admit this, and probably wouldn’t even recognise it happening… But it’s hurting cycling in other nations, many of which have a much stronger cycling heritage.

                • Saeba R.

                  Some good ideas.

                  My opinion:

                  The three GTs hurt the sport. I love them. But how is it a WT when all the big GTs are in Europe…

                  The economic centre of the world is shifting every day, and away from Europe…

  • isn’t this just as dangerous for pedestrians and general road users? a jet black bollard sat on black tarmac = great combo! no wonder it’s bent, it must have been backed into loads of times.

  • Patrick Murphy

    They can’t even get 1K to go banners correct (TDF 2016), how are they supposed to spot a black bollard against black tarmac.

    • Dave

      That one was deliberate sabotage.

    • ebbe

      The manufacturer of the inflatable arches has said it’s impossible for such an arch to collapse as quickly as it did, unless somebody did it on purpose. Even unplugging it from the power would make it collapse slowly, not quickly. To make it collapse quickly, you’ll need to open a special deflation-hatch at the bottom.

      • Dave

        I agree.

        At the Tour Down Under a couple of years ago we had one go down when the generator died in the warm weather. It went down slowly enough that people were able to get underneath the arch and hold it up for the following pass of the race, then remove it before the next lap.

        The police believed the Tour arch collapse was sabotage by farmers in the area who were disgruntled about the Tour passing through the district.

  • gpop87

    At what point to we get past worthless apologies and cover the riders’ medical bills, expected earnings, loss in potential earnings, etc… Perhaps there would be an incentive to care for the riders’ safety.

    • Saeba R.

      Yes but surely they are liable? So the rider, team or their insurers can take action against them? And if the Vuelta’s insurers deem the Veulta negligent than they would need to pay?

      Of course the rider/teams may be hesitant to take action our to power imbalance…

      • ebbe

        Johnny Hoogerland tried that after this happened, clearly caused by a media vehicle allowed in the race by the organisers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq51saXP_jA

        At first AIG (the media company whose car it was) didn’t even respond to his requests. It took him a 3 years legal battle to reach a “settlement”. The settlement basically amounted to covering the medical costs, but little more. So yeah, I’d say there’s a significant “power imbalance”, or even a blatant avoidance of responsibilities, indeed

        • Saeba R.

          What an amazing coincidence that your ‘media company’ has the same name as one of the worlds largest insurers…

          Do you have any actual details on the undisclosed settlement? Because he was originally chasing around 1/2 a Mill…

          • Steve Gibson

            $3

          • ebbe

            If you read Dutch, you can find it everywhere on the Internet

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