After motorbikes and cars, now helicopters following races are in the spotlight after the downdraft from one blew crash barriers doubling as advertising hoardings into the path of riders at today’s queen stage of the Tour of Croatia, won by Trek-Segafredo’s Riccardo Zoidl.
Footage posted to Twitter by Cyclinghub.tv shows how the lead riders had to avoid the crash barriers that had been blown over in the closing few hundred metres of today’s race.
— CyclingHub.tv (@CyclingHubTV) April 22, 2016
Scottish rider Robert Millar has spoken in the past of how pilots of low-flying helicopters working for host broadcasters may have given a helping hand to home riders when he was challenging for the overall win at the Giro d’Italia.
More recently, in the 2013 edition of the Spanish race the Vuelta a Burgos, several riders gesticulated at a helicopter after it blew them off the road, and in the following year’s Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, one was said to have caused Katusha’s Pavel Kochetkov to crash, causing him to break his collarbone.
As for that question about whether drones should be used instead of helicopters, Felix Lowe – who blogs for Eurosport as Saddleblaze – pointed out that one was being used in today’s race.
@CyclingHubTV You could actually see a drone above the riders from the helicopter cam at one point...
— Felix Lowe (@saddleblaze) April 22, 2016
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.