11. Tragedy at Ghent-Wevelgem: Reflection before revolution

Mar 30, 2016, 11:48 PM

March 31 | It has been a dark week for cycling following the deaths of Antoine Demoitié, who died after being hit by a motorcycle during Sunday’s Ghent-Wevelgem, and Daan Myngheer, who suffered a heart attack at Critérium International.

This episode of The Telegraph Cycling Podcast focuses on the incident at Ghent-Wevelgem, which was the latest in a growing list of collisions between race vehicles and riders.

As the spotlight falls on the function of cars and motorbikes that accompany the peloton, Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe discuss a complex issue and ask the opinions of a rider, a team manager, a motorcycle driver and a race organiser.

Mark Cavendish spoke to Daniel Friebe the day after Ghent-Wevelgem to give a rider’s perspective on the dangers involved in racing, some of the factors that contribute to those dangers and some of the possible solutions.

Last month, after motorcycles caused crashes in two separate races, BMC Racing’s general manager Jim Ochowicz wrote an open letter to the UCI, the sport’s governing body, urging action to make events safer for the cyclists. We hear from Ochowicz, speaking earlier this month, about what prompted him to speak out.

We talk to Luke Edwardes-Evans, an experienced motorcycle pilot for one of the best-known cycling photographers, Graham Watson, about the role of a driver in the peloton. Why are the motorcyclists there, what do they do and what instructions are they given by race officials?

Finally, we hear from Mick Bennett, the race director of the Tour of Britain, who explains why so many motorbikes are needed for races which operate a rolling road-closure and suggests that the peloton is too large.

In the last part of the show, we look ahead to Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, the second one-day Monument in cycling’s spring Classics season.

The Telegraph Cycling Podcast is supported by Eurosport and Trainer Road.