At the start of Stage 4 of the Tour de France, riders dismounted their bikes and stopped the race for a full minute to protest for safer racing conditions.
The past three stages have been marred by crashes. Yesterday’s Stage 3 race, in particular, was filled with ‘em.
After yesterday’s finish, some cyclists criticized race organizers for creating a dangerous finale that left some riders injured.
“There was a big mistake from the people who approved this route,” said Philippe Gilbert, a former world champion.
Even before Stage 3, there was another notable crash. You probably saw it. One idiot fan stuck a cardboard sign in front of the road. She wanted the attention of the television cameras, and she got it. She also caused some serious mayhem during the competition.
The tour has announced its plans to sue the spectator responsible for the pile-up, but she is missing and has reportedly fled the country. Oh, good.
Anyway, today, CPA — the international riders’ association — released a statement before the Stage 4 race and protest:
Following the crashes during the third stage of the Tour de France, the riders have been discussing how they wish to proceed to show their dissatisfaction with safety measures in place and demand their concerns are taken seriously. Their frustration about foreseeable and preventable action is enormous.
The statement went on to ask the UCI (cycling’s governing body) to adopt the three-kilometer rule. It would allow riders who crash in the final three kilometers to earn the same time as the group they would’ve finished with, had it not been for their fall.
“This could avoid circumstances such as those which occurred in yesterday’s stage,” the riders’ association said.
Who knows what will happen, if anything, after this minute of silence from athletes.
But former French bike racer and current team manager of Groupama-FDJ Marc Madiot forecasts a more grim scenario.
“We have to do something or otherwise there will end up being deaths,” he said after Stage 3. “And I don’t want to have to call up one of my rider’s families to tell them what has happened. This can’t go on. It’s not bike racing.”