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Tour de France Femmes

FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope manager wants Nicole Frain removed from Tour de France Femmes after Marta Cavalli crash

Podium-favorite Cavalli is initially cleared of any serious injuries but the team is continuing to monitor her for concussion.

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FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope manager Stephen Delcourt said that Australian champion Nicole Frain should be removed from the Tour de France avec Zwift by her team after her crash with Marta Cavalli on stage 2.

Frain, who rides for Parkhotel Valkenburg, was returning to the peloton following an earlier spill when she collided with Cavalli as she slowed down to avoid another crash that had happened in front of her.

Both riders were thrown from their bikes as a result of the incident, with Cavalli landing on her back while Frain was sent forward over the top of the other stricken riders. Frain was able to finish and is riding stage 3, while Cavalli abandoned the race after initially getting back on her bike.

“I’m not happy today because Parkhotel decided that Nicole Frain will continue. For me, it’s not normal. In every job, if you have a fault, the employer decides that you stop for a few days. They have apologized but we can’t continue like this,” Delcourt told VeloNews in Reims at the start of stage 3.

“Imagine a member of your family was on the bike, I have a daughter and if my daughter was in the same situation, I would say stop cycling. It’s important that all of the stakeholders think about the future of our sport. We can’t have a situation like this.”

Also read: Tour de France Femmes: Marta Cavalli taken to hospital for checks after high-speed crash

Delcourt was calm but noticeably upset when talking about the incident ahead of the stage 3 start. He noted that Parkhotel Valkenburg had come to apologize about the situation but that it was not enough and the team had to take stricter action.

“We need to change the mentality and if we want to do that then we need to say stop and stop playing with the life of a rider. As a team manager, we are afraid of one thing, calling a parent to say your girl is in the hospital,” he said.

“Yesterday, we were so close to having a big drama with Amanda Spratt and Marta. Now, we need to change our sport and we have the key to that, but I’m not happy that Parkhotel decided that she can come back.”

Amanda Spratt had been part of the crash that had caused Cavalli to slow, and was directly in the path of the two riders. She was hit again as Frain and Cavalli came down and abandoned the race ahead of stage 3 due to the injuries she sustained.

VeloNews spoke to team manager Raymond Rol and asked for a comment, but he refused to speak before the stage start. Frain issued her own statement on Instagram, apologizing to the riders involved.

“No, today didn’t go how I hoped. It was hectic and I didn’t feel comfortable all day. After working hard to come back to the peloton in the convoy and with my teammate, the speed we rejoined the pack would have matched their pace,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, as I came off the wheel I was unaware riders on the road from another crash. My teammate went to the left off the road, but I didn’t have the opportunity to do the same given I didn’t see it.

“This meant I crashed overtop of the rider on the ground and I did my best to avoid it but I had no where I could go. Naturally this was never the intention and I am sorry for those involved. I am sore as well, and will monitor how I feel. I’m lucky I could get back on my bike.”

Frain also spoke to Eurosport immediately after the stage, saying that she believed she would be able to make it through a gap she’d seen following the crash.

“I was coming back from a crash, and I was coming in pretty fast through the convoy and through the cars and I was just about to come back onto the peloton, and I think there was another crash right at the back. I sort of thought I would make it through the gap, but I didn’t.”

Though she was unable to take to the start of stage 3, Cavalli was still on the bus to support her teammates before they rolled out. The Italian will stay with the team for at least a few days as they monitor her for any signs of concussion.

“We need time to be sure, and for that she will stay here with all the medical staff but we need time. We are using our concussion protocol, but for now, we need some time. We’re always here for a member of our staff,” Delcourt said.

“She’s really disappointed because she worked hard and Cecilie worked hard to realize our dream. Now, she can’t help Cecilie. Cecilie had a crash, and she can’t help. This morning, she decided to come back because she wanted to support the team for the rest of the Tour de France.”