While some riders have complained about the UCI’s new enforcement of the ban on the aerodynamic ‘super-tuck’ and forearms-on-bars positions, CPA President Gianni Bugno tells Cyclingnews the riders were represented in ‘numerous safety meetings’ with the UCI and other stakeholders when the new rules were proposed.
The CPA was represented by Philippe Gilbert and Matteo Trentin in the meetings to improve rider safety which accelerated after the devastating Tour de Pologne crash of Fabio Jakobsen. Bugno says the CPA’s members were regularly updated on what was discussed during the meetings and so they knew about the new rules riding positions.
“Riders are perhaps frustrated that they face fines and penalties now for the positions but fines and penalties will also eventually be introduced for race organisers who fail to respect the safety rules.”
While the UCI banned Dylan Groenewegen for nine months for his role in causing Jakobsen to crash, riders have been critical of the insufficient roadside barriers that gave way and flew into Jakobsen and other riders sprinting behind him and demanded a standard for safe barricades.
Bugno says that while the Tour de Pologne hasn’t been punished, they’ll have to take action and improve things this year otherwise they risk losing their WorldTour status. He also hailed the addition of the new Safety Manager at the UCI, Richard Chassot, “who was an organiser but was also a rider. I’m sure he’ll also work with riders who have recently stopped racing and who know exactly how the riders feel”.
The CPA will hold a presentation on the new rules to the CPA riders on February 15 and gather feedback to present to the UCI and other stakeholders but he says riders have a responsibility as role models to ride in a safe way.
“Riders are free to do the different bike positions when they’re out training alone but not in races when they’re on television. They have a responsibility as role models for everyone else.
The positions “might not be a danger for the pro riders but they are for the young riders and casual riders who try to emulate them,” Bugno says.
“The pros know how to ride at high speed in races and they’re less at risk because they race on closed roads. Yet if they go into a forearms-on-bars position on a descent at 70km/h on the front of the peloton, they’re also taking a risk. They could hit a hole in the road and go down and take down the peloton with them. That’s why those positions have been banned.
“The rules on bike safety are the same kinds of rules as those on barriers and race finishes for race organisers. Everyone has to play their part to make racing safer, to avoid crashes and injuries. There are penalties and fines but they’re just like other offences like taking natural breaks or riding on the footpath. They’re the rules and have to be respected,” Bugno says.
“Littering and throwing bidons are a different matter but again, it’s about being a role model and setting an example. Riders can’t throw bidons and litter where they want, they have to be disposed of properly. There are some towns and regions that don’t want bike races because the riders throw their litter in the road. We can’t accept that, we have to be environmentally friendly and play our part.”
Bugno said he has seen the complaints on social media from several riders. “I don’t agree with them. The commission agreed to the new rules and I accept them, we all have to accept them just as we do with other rules.”