The UCI has banned Bahrain Victorious pro Filip Maciejuk from racing for 30 days, nearly four months after the 23-year-old was disqualified from the Tour of Flanders for causing a horrendous crash that injured several riders.
The world governing body announced this morning that its Disciplinary Commission had ruled against the Polish rider for his role in the crash on 2 April – which took place after he lost control on a grass verge, swerving back in the peloton – and suspended him from racing for 30 days. The ban commenced yesterday.
The horrific pile-up came with around 140km to go at this year’s Tour of Flanders, as the peloton raced for position ahead of the first ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, one of the key climbs of the prestigious cobbled classic.
Maciejuk could be seen moving up on a footpath on the left-hand side of the road, before riding onto a flooded grass verge, where he lost control of his bike. The second-year pro was flung back across into the peloton, hitting UAE Team Emirates’ Tim Wellens and in turn bringing down dozens of riders behind.
— Ronde van Vlaanderen (@RondeVlaanderen) April 2, 2023
Wellens was one of the worst affected in the crash, abandoning the race with a broken collarbone, while Ineos Grenadiers’ Ben Turner also fractured his left arm.
Former winner Peter Sagan, riding his final Tour of Flanders, was also forced to leave the race early, while Julian Alaphilippe, Jasper Stuyven, Davide Ballerini, Edoardo Affini, and Yves Lampaert were among the other big names to hit the deck.
Commentating for GCN and Eurosport, Dan Lloyd said “it is a long time since I have seen a crash as big as that”.
Maciejuk was almost immediately disqualified by the race commissaires for his actions, a decision which forms part of the UCI’s drive in recent years to eradicate the common sight of riders attempting to move up the side of the bunch using pavements, cycle paths, verges, and gutters.
The disqualification was welcomed at the time by Lotto-Dstny’s Thomad De Gendt, who tweeted that “dangerous” off-road moves like Maciejuk’s need to be banned, and that he would “okay with suspensions for moves like this”.
— Dieter Vanthourenhout (@vanthourenhout) April 2, 2023
According to the UCI’s Disciplinary Commission, the 23-year-old was found “in breach of article 12.4.007 of the UCI regulations for having caused the crash of several riders in the peloton after riding outside the race course and through a puddle on the roadside.”
Article 12.4.007 of the UCI states: “Any person or entity subject to this Part who exposes another party to an immediate risk of death or injury by a deliberate act or behaviour that is contrary to the regulations regarding safety or care shall receive a disciplinary sanction.”
Maciejuk, who has raced the Amstel Gold Race, Flechè Wallonne, and several stage races since the crash, will now only be eligible to compete again on 25 August, meaning he will miss out on selection for the Polish national team at the upcoming UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow. He will also be banned from competing in his home national tour, the Tour of Poland.
In the hours after causing the crash – as Tadej Pogačar was still storming towards his first Ronde win – Maciejuk took to social media to apologise.
“I’m really sorry for my mistake and causing the crash today,” he said. “I hope all those involved are in good health and safe. This should not happen and was a big error in my judgement.
“I had no intention of causing this. All I can do now is apologise for my mistake and learn from this in the future. Sorry again to the peloton, my teammates, and the fans.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.