A sport journalist with panache, and certainly the love for our beloved sport, Marijn de Vries is an ex-top pro women’s cyclist who has her blogs on https://www.nrc.nl/rubriek/marijn-de-vries/ and certainly an advocate for safer races!! Here below her story , hard hitting but respectful, right from the heart…wish I could write like Marijn….
It is a travesty that there is a list of ‘pro cyclists who died during a race’
Shit sport. God damn sport. Get rid of that black and white photo. Get rid of that ‘how cruel cycling is, we will never forget you’. There shouldn’t have been any reason to never forget. I’m sorry, Gino, that we didn’t all get on harder together. I’m sorry we never protested to Aigle to block UCI headquarters until something was finally done. Reasons enough.
It is a travesty that there is a list of ‘pro cyclists who died during a race’. But he exists. 2011: Wouter Weylandt (26), died after a fall in a descent of the Giro d’Italia. 2016: Antoine Demoitié (25), hit by a motorbike during Gent-Wevelgem. 2017: Chad Young (21), crash in the Tour of the Gila. 2019: Stef Loos (19), hit by a van at the Mémorial Alfred Gadenne. Bjorg Lambrecht (22), crash into a concrete culvert in the Tour of Poland. 2023: Gino Mäder (26), fall on the descent of the Albula Pass.
There are many more of course, the list is so long. My start seems random in 2011, but the fall of Wouter Weylandt made such a deep impression on me because I hadn’t raced that long myself. That fall, in the descent of the Passo del Bocco, because his pedal caught on a wall, was such a terrible accident. Fate. No one could do anything about it.
But this isn’t fate, damn it. Your death, Gino, could have been prevented. A descent, in which speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour are reached, as the last ten kilometers of a race: anyone with more than three brain cells can think that that is completely irresponsible? I don’t care if they say that this downhill finish has been a Tour de Suisse finish before, and it went well then too. I find it ridiculous that it is said that riders themselves should descend more safely. You cannot expect that from the athletes themselves.
“In cycling, something terrible always has to happen before nothing happens again. It’s so cynical and I’m sorry, Gino, I don’t know what to write anymore either. How I still have to justify loving one of the deadliest sports in the world, which could easily be a lot less dangerous if only officials, and race organizers were bold – that’s where it starts when it comes to taking responsibility. Especially when you know that all cyclists are against finishing in a downhill. Because it is.
Former cyclist Adam Hansen has been chairman of the cycling union CPA since this year, the first decisive chairman it seems. He did research among 171 cycling professionals and it turns out: none of them want a final like Thursday, a final that was fatal to you. Zero percent, nobody! Everyone opts for a flat spur, preferably at least three kilometers long. I’m sure Hansen’s surveys would also show that riders want safe crush barriers everywhere, and no finish in a corner in case of a bunch sprint.
Let the UCI finally listen, and for goodness sake do something. You have not been able to win the battle of your life, it’s so cynical, Gino: the battle for your life wouldn’t even have been there with a little more attention to safety” Marijn de Vries