The Vuelta a Burgos race director has placed the majority of the blame of the stage two crash on David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma), stating he crashed after hitting a 2.5cm high zebra crossing, rather than a speed bump.
On the second stage of the Spanish race, Dekker flipped over his handlebars after hitting something on the road and losing control of the bike 700m from the finish line. Many other riders crashed and picked up injuries as a result, with AG2R Citroën rider Damien Touzé the worst affected rider as he suffered a head trauma and concussion after being thrown over the barriers.
Riders were left outraged at the decision to have what they believe a speed bump in the final kilometer of a race likely to include a sprint finish. Dekker’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Edoardo Affini shared his grievances on Twitter, calling it a “disgrace” and “unacceptable”.
However, the Vuelta a Burgos race director, Marcus Moral, has placed the blame at the door of Dekker, claiming race organization is not at fault for the crash.
“It was not a speed bump, but a zebra crossing no more than 2.5 centimeters high, on a slope,” he told L’Equipe. “This obstacle was indicated by markings on the ground and by a signalman’s flag. In preparation we showed the last three kilometers to the riders. It is impossible to find a track by removing roundabouts or passages like this one.
“It is a mistake by David Dekker. He has since realized this and has asked for forgiveness.
“I’m not saying it’s just the rider’s fault. It’s everyone’s fault. But we cannot attack the race organization if the obstacle is indicated. I think the last kilometers of the second stage were correct. We take our responsibility, but people should not demonize us for that.”
UCI’s race technical guide states major obstacles, such as road narrowing, traffic islands and barriers’ should not feature in the final kilometer of a race. It is not clear whether or not the zebra crossing is a major obstacle at a stage conclusion.
For Dekker, though, he believes both he and the race organizers are at fault. He acknowledges he should have controlled his bike better as he hit the bump in the road, but also suggests race organizers made a mistake by choosing for the race to take this direction of travel.
“Yes, I was wrong not to hold the handlebar with the necessary force to pass over that bump of 75kmh,” Dekker told CyclingFlash (opens in new tab). “But otherwise I think it’s simple: if you break a UCI rule, you’re wrong. Right?”
“If there’s no obstacle, I won’t fall. If we ride the same road in the opposite direction then we ride 40kmh and I or anyone else won’t fall either.
“As riders we have to follow the rules: don’t lie in the super tuck position, sprint in a straight line and throw waste in the right place. Then the organization must follow the rules well enough, but the UCI itself must certainly monitor better.”
He continued, telling the Dutch publication he shouldn’t have to take complete responsibility for the crash, claiming more should have been done to mitigate that circumstance from ever happening in the first place
“I realize that I made a mistake that I myself bear the consequences of, in the first place”, says Dekker. “But an obstacle so close to the finish and knowing that it is in a descending line is asking for trouble.
“No one falls or causes a fall voluntarily, but the platoon is voluntarily sent over this course. You’re dealing with a runaway platoon battling for a stage win and GC riders looking to finish as close as possible in each stage.
“Then you know riders are going to the limit, and an organisation, the course designer and the UCI should take this into account.”