Pole in the road leads to crash in GP Kranj finale

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A pole in the middle of the road caused a major crash of the GP Kranj, bringing several riders down in the finale of the one-day race in Slovenia on Sunday.

Olav Kooij of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team navigated road furniture positioned at the final curve to nab the victory over Filippo Fortin (Felbermayr-Simplon Wels) and Pawel Franczak (Voster ATS), but just behind, several sprinters and lead-out riders did not fare quite as well.

One rider went down trying to swerve to avoid the pole (which was, at least, covered in protective padding), and many of those behind him went down in a cascading effect.

At least as of Monday afternoon, there have not been any reports of serious injuries suffered in the pileup.

The UCI strengthened its guidelines for pre-race course inspection at WorldTour events a few years ago following incidents like the crash on stage 1 of the 2015 Vuelta al País Vasco that left Pete Stetina with a serious leg injury. Lower-tier events like the UCI 1.2-rated GP Kraj, however, have fewer firm guidelines in place regarding safety standards.

As such, while organizers apparently recognized the risk presented by a pole in the middle of the road at the final corner of the race to surround it with protective padding, the event nonetheless went ahead with road furniture inside the final few hundred meters, and concluded with a crash-marred sprint.

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