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Mark Cavendish wins third stage in three days – but huge crash causes barriers to disintegrate (+ video)

Safety concerns raised following incident at end of today's Stage 4 of Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey...

Mark Cavendish, until Monday without a win in more than three years, has won his third stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey in as many days to extend his overall lead in the race ahead of it heading into the mountains tomorrow. However, the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider's win was overshadowed by a huge crash in the closing few hundred metres which saw riders hit barriers on either side of the approach to the line, once again raising concerns over safety at the finish of sprint stages.

The UCI has been working on improving rider safety since Fabio Jakobsen suffered horrific injuries when he was pushed into the barriers during the sprint at the opening stage of last August’s Tour de Pologne by Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen, who received a nine month ban from racing.

Shortly before the crash today Jakobsen, who is making his comeback race for Deceunick-Quick Step here, had peeled off the front of the peloton after forming part of Cavendish’s lead out train.

In the sprint for the line, the 35-year-old former world champion got on the wheel of Alpecin-Fenix’s Jasper Philipsen and came round him to complete a hat-trick of victories that few would have predicted at the start of the week. Polish national champion Stanislaw Aniolkowski of Bingoal Pauwels Sauces finished third.

Aerial footage shows that behind them, Arvid De Kleijn of Rally Cycling, in the orange and who came fourth today, moved towards the left-hand barriers as he tried to find space to launch his sprint.

The manoeuvre meant that Delko’s Pierre Barbier came perilously close to hitting the barriers and it seems that in his effort to stay upright, there was a touch of wheels between the French rider and a Gazprom-Rusvelo rider behind him, which appears to be what triggered the crash.

Initially it seemed as though all riders had escaped relatively unscathed, although there have since been reports of ambulances being present at the scene as some continued to receive treatment, and we will update this story as and when we have more information.

The UCI is working on introducing new safety standards for finish line barriers for next season, but as an interim measure requires that from the start of this month, they must be continuous with no gaps between them, which TV footage suggests was not the case today.

Mark Cavendish Tour of Turkey stage 4 podium - credit Stuart Franklin Getty Images

Commenting on yet another victory, and the 800th in the history of the Quick-Step team since it was founded under the Quick-Step–Davitamon name in 2003, Cavendish said: “It’s nice, and to be sincere, it’s irrelevant how many wins are in a row, it’s just nice to win again. It’s great that the team believes in me and I’m grateful to them for that.

"At the beginning of the year all I wanted to do is win a race, and now I have done it three times. I’m proud to have racked up Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 800th victory, but to me the most important thing is that I’m part of this family, which is an honour.

“The most special thing about today wasn’t my win, but seeing how far into the stage Fabio got. It was beautiful to see him there, doing a phenomenal job for the squad and enjoying racing. Having him up there motivated me to finish it off.

"I’m proud to have such amazing teammates, and at the end of the day, that is what really makes everything special."

Images: Stuart Franklin, Getty Images

Simon joined 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.

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Gkam84 | 3 years ago

I don't think there were gaps in the barriers, but they were metal and feel to bits again when hit. Everyone trying to get on Cavs wheel, De Kleijn created a gap that wasn't there for him and caused others to brake/move and a pile up followed. UCI will release a blindingly obvious statement again and then sit back in their thrones thinking they have done enough.

Awavey replied to Gkam84 | 3 years ago

They'll time penalise a rider or two for littering outside of the recycling zone

kil0ran replied to Gkam84 | 3 years ago
1 like

Barriers were the standard crowd control barriers that hook together with short upsidedown J shaped hooks. Completely inadequate. Why can't they just use air fences like they do in MotoGP and speedway?
Answer? ££££ and the riders aren't powerful enough to force safety changes

Gkam84 replied to kil0ran | 3 years ago

They weren't standard barriers, they were the angled barriers that the UCI requires in finishing straights, the reports of them collapsing were wrong because the latest reports are that the riders bounced off and back onto the course because the barriers held together.

The new barriers that are being deployed currently in the Flanders races seem to be the logical step forward. While I do like your idea about air fences like MotoGP, they would be a bit overkill and they also take up a lot of room, so a sprint finish would be vastly narrowed.

The riders have forced change, as has been seen with the new barrier standards, which those in Turkey complied with and the new integration testing of different barrier deployments. 


PRSboy | 3 years ago

Surprised the UCI haven't neutralised sprint finishes in case someone gets hurt.

Bigfoz replied to PRSboy | 3 years ago

They won't act until someone with long socks causes a crash...

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