The safety of riders at major bike races is in the spotlight again this evening after Australia’s Mat Hayman said that he was left with no option but to crash into the barriers at today’s road world championship.
The 39-year-old – likely to be riding the event for the final time – said after abandoning that cars had come to a sudden halt in front of him as he tried to rejoin the main group.
"I’m not sure if I actually hit the car. I came pretty close. I was coming back from a stop and I have the feeling that a lot of the guys here in the convoy don’t drive the rest of the year at races,” he told Cycling News.
"A whole bunch of cars just stopped and no-one seemed to want to give the riders the right of way. Maybe I expected too much from the convoy.
“Normally the guys I’d race with, the drivers you’re with, in these races, they know when a rider is coming back and they give way.
"All the cars were stopped in the second corner before the descent, before going into the tunnel. They seemed to all misjudge it. They stopped quickly and that pushed me on to the wrong side of the road."
Hayman, who had been riding for Michael Matthews who finished third behind Slovakia’s Peter Sagan and Alexander Kristoff of Norway, was not badly hurt in the incident but was checked over by medical staff afterwards.
Earlier this week, however, the Finnish rider Joni Kanevra sustained injuries including a broken collarbone when a team car swerved into his path during the men’s under-23 road race.
Hayman added: "That’s possibly my last world championships and not the way I wanted to end it.”
He later said on Twitter: “Be nice if the car drivers in the men's pro road race were professional as well.
“To be clear I was not hit, but I was left with little option but to hit the barriers.”
Earlier this week, the UCI announced a reduction of the size of the peloton in major races including the Tour de France from next year on safety grounds.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.