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Riders are angry after a speed bump in the closing kilometer of a sprint stage provoked a dangerous, high-speed crash in Wednesday’s second stage at the Vuelta a Burgos.
A Spanish-style pedestrian crossing, also called a zebra crossing, dissected the route within the closing kilometer after the bunch roared toward the line carrying top speed. The safety feature designed to allow pedestrians to cross a roadway in a marked location is raised about six to eight inches above the pavement and are usually about five to six feet across.
That was enough to trigger chaos in the bunch sprint at the five-day race across northern Spain.
Jumbo-Visma’s David Dekker was in prime position for the sprint when he lost control of his handlebars and crashed heavily. Jumbo-Visma was leading him out when he struck the crossing without realizing it was there, and flipped over his handlebars.
Dekker later said he was lucky to avoid serious injury, and since he was tucked in behind his teammates on the third wheel, he never saw the speed bump.
“It’s going well, looking at what happened,” Dekker said. “It seems like nothing is broken, except my morale. “I do have a lot of injuries. I didn’t see the speed bump coming and with that high speed in a downhill section I completely lost control. I sincerely hope that everyone involved in the crash is OK and will recover quickly.”
Edoardo Affini, also of Jumbo-Visma, had strong words after the incident. He was leading out eventual winner Timo Roosen who avoided the crash, and defended his celebration at the finish line, insisting that he did not know what had just happened in his wake.
“Before everyone start writing bullshit on here, I want to make it clear. I was doing a full leadout effort. I have seen a teammate passing me with 200m to go and I celebrated, yes,” he wrote on Twitter. “I really didn’t have idea of the huge carnage behind us.”
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There was a safety marshal waving a warning flag to warn the peloton, but speeds were nearing 60kph as the bunch barreled toward the finish line in what will likely be the only pure bunch sprint in the five-day race across northern Spain.
Ag2r-Citroën rider Damien Touzé crashed heavily into the barriers, and team officials say he’s been transported to a local hospital. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Davide Ballerini also crashed hard. A Movistar teammate of Alejandro Valverde also fell heavily.
Most of the peloton screeched to a halt, and barely a half-dozen riders made it clear to the line. Jumbo-Visma swept the podium with the top three spots in an unintentional hat trick.
GC favorites were also involved, including Bora-Hansgrohe’s Wilco Keldermann and Jai Hindley also being knocked to the ground.
Because the crash was within 3km to go in the sprint stage, no time differences were taken. Overnight leader Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) retained the overall lead. Defending champion Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), who was gapped before the crash, lost nearly four minutes on the stage.
“The crash in the end was really bad and some riders are unfortunately seriously injured as it looked when we passed them,” said Bora-Hansgrohe sport director Jens Zemke. “From our boys Wilco and Jai have been involved, but luckily, they seem to be OK. Of course, both lost some skin, but besides that they should be OK.”
Affini also called out the UCI and race organizers for taking the route over the dangerous speed bump within the final kilometer after coming down a slope with the peloton carrying high speed.
“I feel very sorry and sad for everyone involved and I hope no one is badly hurt,” he said. “Dear UCI, after all that happened already, to allow a finish with a speed bump so high in the last 800m coming from a super high-speed section is a disgrace. Unacceptable.”
😬 These are the bruises to @MathiasNorsgaar‘s body after that scary crash in #VueltaBurgos – he made it to the finish, but that’s gontta hurt. Hope you can rest well, mate 🙏 pic.twitter.com/9Blh38F865
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) August 3, 2022