Tuesday, June 29, 2021
“We are all drawn”
Tour professionals strike after a series of bad falls
This year’s Tour de France has only just begun and the drivers are already running out of patience: after the fierce criticism, they are on strike at the beginning of the fourth stage. The professionals are loudly calling for new security measures, but they are not really heard from the President of the World Association.
At kilometer one, patience ran out: a battered field of riders was forced to protest in full on the fourth day of the Tour de France and refused to continue for a short time after the orgy of falls in Pontivy. Led by sprint veteran Andre Greipel and world champion Julian Alaphilippe, the peloton stopped for a short time shortly after the start. A clear message to the organizers and the world association: We won’t continue like this.
“I feel as if I’ve been on the road for two weeks – mentally, physically,” said the German veteran Tony Martin before the start in the Brittany town of Redon, which was followed by the standstill and then a continuation at a slow pace: “We are all drawn . ” His team captain Primoz Roglic, who looked more like a mummy than a professional cyclist as a result of a crash the day before, could sing a song about it.
Bruises and abrasions for the happier ones, rows of broken bones in the unlucky ones: After a tour start to shudder, the main characters are completely served. Even more: “If we don’t change anything, there will be deaths at some point,” said French FDJ team boss Marc Madiot drastically.
“Chaos is inevitable”
The anger ignited at the route of the last 20 kilometers of the first sprinter stage to Pontivy. “Whoever designed this final should try to win the stage with 180 drivers,” grumbled Greipel. And Martin said: “If a route like yesterday is offered, the chaos is actually inevitable.” In the already hectic preparation for the sprint, narrow, bad roads, tricky bends and sharp descents got in the way of the racing field.
The criticism reached World Association President David Lappartient, but the Frenchman – appropriately born in the accident and accident site of Pontivy – brushed it brusquely aside. The drivers themselves are to blame for their wounds and fractures: “Most of the falls are due to a lack of attention. You shouldn’t put it on the route,” said the 48-year-old. A statement from which it is not far from the really big bang.
At least on the controversial stage on Monday, there was a bang in loose succession: First co-favorite Roglic flew ten kilometers from the finish on a gravelly slope, six kilometers further there was a massive crash in a left turn, the Australian sixth overall Jack Haig had to give up. Finally, 150 m from the finish, top sprinter Caleb Ewan slipped away in a slight right bend and tore Bora star Peter Sagan with him – for Ewan the tour ended with a broken collarbone.
“When I see something like that, I don’t want my child to become a professional cyclist. I don’t want to have to call the family of one of my riders to tell them what happened,” said Madiot, completely disturbed after his top sprinter Arnaud Demare also said yes Case had come: “We have to find solutions.”
However, these were obvious. The drivers are calling for the three-kilometer rule to be extended, and the CPA union repeated the request. The rule stipulates that drivers who have fallen within the last three kilometers do not lose any time – but normal time intervals are measured, so the overall classification drivers have to mix with the sprinters, it will be tight.
“I know of drivers who have requested before the stage that the time be taken eight kilometers before the finish so that there are fewer battles for positions on the narrow road and the descent,” said Belgian Tim Declercq: “The request is not even been answered. “