UCI fines organizers of BinckBank tour for ‘safety failings’

In a first of its kind, cycling's governing body has fined a WorldTour event organizer for dangerous race conditions

The UCI has fined and imposed safety improvements on the BinckBank Tour WorldTour event, the cycling federation reported Monday.

In a move that reveals the UCI is taking a stronger stand for rider safety, organizers were handed a fine for an undisclosed amount. Organizers also agreed to take new steps to assure safer racing conditions before the 2020 event.

The BinckBank Tour event — held August 10-18 this year — raised hackles among riders and teams alike, who complained of unsafe racing conditions, citing too-narrow roads and unsafe barriers in the final sprint that included protruding supports.

The race was won by Laurens de Plus (Jumbo-Visma), who took the lead on the final stage in a tight battle with Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal).

Riders presented a formal complaint via the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) against the race across Benelux, which was discussed during a meeting last week between the UCI and CPA.

In addition to a fine, organizers agreed to host a UCI Technical Advisor at next year’s race as well as introduce new safety measures as part of a review of its WorldTour status.

“The UCI would like to underline the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by the organizers during this procedure,” a UCI statement read Monday, “and their willingness to improve the safety conditions of their event in order to meet the regulatory safety requirements of an event on the UCI WorldTour.”

This case is the first since 2019, when new rules opened the door for the UCI to make disciplinary rulings on safety failings. In 2017, the UCI already started to enforce stricter rules pertaining to the movement of vehicles in the race caravan.

The UCI promised more action pertaining to rider safety in the coming weeks, the statement read.

“The possibility of imposing sanctions on organizers is part of a series of important initiatives adopted by the UCI in recent years, in partnership with professional road cycling’s various stakeholders, in the effort to promote rider safety: the extreme weather protocol, the deployment of UCI Technical Advisors, guidelines for vehicle circulation in the race convoy and a reduction in the number of riders in races,” the UCI statement read.