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Jos van Emden on dangerous finishes at CRO Race: ‘The UCI don’t care about our safety’

'To me the UCI lost all credibility. They showed that they don’t give a damn,' Jumbo-Visma rider tells VeloNews.

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Veteran Dutch rider Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma) heavily criticized the UCI for a lack of action and protection when it comes to race safety.

The rider’s comments relate to a series of dangerous finishes at the recent CRO Race.

Footage of Sunday’s stage 6 into Zagreb showed the peloton navigating tram lines and a series of tight bends and dangerous road furniture.

According to Van Emden, 37, several riders complained to the UCI commissaires during two stages of the race, including the final day’s action, but he claims their protests were waved away.

“The whole race was dangerous with the local circuits. Before the circuits it was OK but these circuits were too much. When I looked in the road book in the morning I had hoped that it would be OK but it was the opposite. It should be unacceptable but I don’t know what can be done. The UCI should do something but I can’t take the UCI seriously anymore,” Van Emden told VeloNews in a call on Sunday evening.

“There were tram lines, road furniture, and then small poles to prevent cars from parking. There were potholes on the descent that you could disappear and it’s not just today. It was every day in that race on the local laps.

“We complained with some riders a few days ago because of rain in a ridiculous final, even in the dry they’ve crashed there five years in a row, and then the UCI commissaires say that they don’t see any problems.

“To me the UCI lost all credibility. They showed that they don’t give a damn. They just don’t care about our safety. I’m 100 percent sure that they don’t check the finals.”

It wasn’t just the final stage that caused a backlash from riders. Stage 4 was also fraught with danger, according to van Emden.

“It was 200 kilometers straight, and not difficult, so a clear bunch sprint but then we had seven or eight tight corners in one kilometer. It started raining in the last hour so some of the riders asked if they would take the time from when we entered the final circuit, but the UCI commissaires said they didn’t see anything dangerous or a problem. That was the end of discussion. Luckily everyone stayed up.”

Van Emden: ‘This will be my last CRO Race’

The final stage also saw Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard ease up due to the dangers of the finishing circuit. He would go on to lose the race to Matej Mohorič.

“This was my first time at the Cro Race, and it will be my last,” Van Emden said.

“I don’t think that Jumbo-Visma will go back. The chance of breaking something is just too big. Jonas didn’t like that he lost the race but he said he didn’t want to break his neck. That was the best decision so we lost the race, but we stayed healthy and that’s the most important thing.”

Back in the spring the UCI president David Lappartient told WielerFlits and Cyclingnews that rider safety was the governing body’s top priority.

“We will do everything we can to improve the safety of the riders in all races. Every accident that could have been prevented is one too many. That is why we are investing heavily in safety.” he said.