from 08/08/20

After the accident that characterized the arrival of the first stage of the Tour de Pologne, the International Riders Association asked the International Cycling Union to open an investigation to prosecute those who did not guarantee the safety of the athletes in the race. Waiting for an answer, not yet received, the union led by Gianni Bugno is keen to point out that the CPA delegate present at the races does not have the power to change a finish already approved by the Technical Commission and the UCI. Furthermore, the controls on the compliance of the arrivals with the regulations and the specifications for the organizers are the responsibility of the organizer and the UCI.

«Our delegate represents the meeting point between the riders and the organization, he is called into question for the extreme weather protocol and can act as spokesperson for the participants in the race but is not the person in charge of the safety controls. This is not a justification, but a necessary clarification given the many criticisms we have received and the numerous falsehoods that have been said in the last days. The CPA and our delegates are always at the forefront in defending the riders and their safety but they are the last link in the chain of the problems prevention that can arise in the race, not the first. For example, I ask myself: why do the teams not intervene to avoid the risky situations since they see the routes in advance and can avoid letting their “employees” take the start if they believe that the safety conditions are not sufficient? In addition, the Association of the Sports Groups, unlike us, has members within the Road Commission and can vote to change the safety regulations. And where is the UCI? We can no longer entrust the safety of the athletes to the good luck or hope that the organizer will act correctly. Strict rules and even stricter controls are needed. We are happy that Fabio Jakobsen has awakened, but it remains unacceptable that in a World Tour race there are still accidents like the one in which he was involved and in which he risked his life. We all lost on August 5th, and everyone bears a share of the responsibility in that accident. Either we are all finally working together, with a single vision, or nothing will ever change» explains the CPA president Gianni Bugno. «What happened in Katowice must serve to find a point of agreement between UCI, AIGCP, CPA, AIOCC to do something more. Rebounding accusations against each other does not change what happened and will not prevent it from happening again in the future».

The Deceuninck Quick Step team manager said the CPA is doing nothing for the safety of its associates. «I spoke to Patrick Lefevere on the phone and reminded him that the riders cannot change the regulations alone, that the teams have considerable power and should use it, unlike what they have done so far, to defend their members. Speaking of barriers, as CPA we have been asking for years that the barriers are approved and safe, we also reiterated this in the last meeting of the UCI Technical and Regulation working group, but so far our appeals have remained unheard. To those who tell us that changing the rules imposes higher costs on the organizers, we have always replied that the life of the athletes is worth much more and that if a race cannot be organized safely, then it should not be played. There is people appointed by the regulation to evaluate the safety of the routes or the arrivals, if they are not sufficient or able to perform their work efficiently, we must change them» continues Bugno.

Prevention is better than cure, for this reason the International Rider Association, in the letter sent to the UCI Road Commission on 6 August asked, in addition to specific and updated regulations on the safety measures for the races, to avoid the downhill arrivals in massif group and more severe penalties for those who cause serious accidents, even knowing that the riders are already systematically sanctioned when they make mistakes.

«To make mistakes is human, but sometimes it can have serious consequences. The riders must be educated and we are the first to ask for exemplary punishments for those who make mistakes, but we expect the same professionalism from those who organize an event and from those who guide our movement. For this reason, I am waiting for an answer and a concrete commitment from the UCI to ensure the maximum safety for the riders during the competitions». 


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