Roubaix riders have near-miss with TGV

High-speed French train interrupts early stages of the Paris-Roubaix monument

ROUBAIX, France (AFP) — Several riders had a near-miss after crossing a railway line after the barriers had come down, 162 kilometers into Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix one-day classic race.

A TGV (high speed train) passed a few seconds later, although by that point, a police motorcycle was controlling the pass and had stopped the remnants of the peloton.

One rider from the Belgian Lotto-Soudal team was clipped by a barrier which came down as the peloton was passing. French champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) was also nearly hit by the railroad gate.

Several riders decided to cross anyway before the train came, against race rules, before a policeman stopped the rest.

Once the train had passed, they continued normally and rejoined the riders ahead, who had been slowed down by race organizers to wait for those delayed.

After the race, the race jury issued a communique stating that no riders were disqualified for the incident.

“It wasn’t possible for the leading riders to stop sufficiently safely,” said Guy Dobbelaere, president of the jury of race commissioners. “The peloton was 10 meters away when the barrier started to close.

“By neutralizing the race for a few moments to not penalize those who stopped, we respected the spirit of the rule.

“In theory, those who pass when the barrier is down are thrown out of the race. This time, that would have been unjust in respect of those riders who weren’t identified.”