Sir Bradley Wiggins has called for the introduction of sprint lanes at the end of stages following the horrific crash at last week's Tour of Poland that led to Fabio Jakobsen being placed into an induced coma.
Speaking in his exclusive podcast with Eurosport, Wiggins implored the International Cycling Union (UCI), the world governing body of the sport, to take action and focus on making stage finishes safer rather than directing the finger of blame at Dylan Groenewegen whose deviation from his sprint line led to the shocking incident.
In an impassioned monologue, Wiggins said more could be done by the UCI and race organisers, saying that downhill sprint finishes should be scrapped, while suggesting the addition of lines in the final straight of a stage may help the sprinters hold their lines.
“For the protection of the sport I instantly thought of a 100-metre race in athletics and the lanes,” Wiggins said. “Lots of sprinters sprint with their head down looking five metres ahead and are constantly aware of riders coming up and sometimes you can tend to drift when you’re just looking that way and naturally drift slightly as Groenewegen did.”
Wiggins added that he did not believe Groenewegen drifted from his line intentionally, but instead said it was the natural instinct of a sprinter.
“Riders don’t do it intentionally,” he said. “It’s a natural instinct when someone’s coming either side of you and if you’re aware of seeing lines crossing under your wheel as you go you’re realising ‘I’m going to get disqualified’ you may back off. It might not work but it’s the only thing I can think of when you’re flat out sprinting and you’re conscious of riders coming up and looking at the line that you’re not drifting and not potentially going to impact and cause a crash of this nature. But something needs to be done rather than just disqualifying riders.
“Groenewegen has now got to live with the consequences of that because it’s bike racing and no one in the professional peloton intentionally goes out to do that to a rider.”
After spending two days in an induced coma, Jakobsen was revived by doctors at the Sosnowiec hospital, his team Deceuninck-Quick Step announced on Friday. Though struggling to speak or eat, it is understood that any major neurological problems have been ruled out.
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