After a strong debut in Tirreno-Adriatico that included a top 10 in the queen stage to Prati di Tivo, Simon Carr‘s race nearly ended when he ran into an unprotected bollard in the middle of the road of stage 6 on the closing circuit around Fermo.
Carr was following an EF Education-Nippo teammate as the race was lined out chasing the six-man breakaway of the day when the teammate swerved to avoid the road furniture – two bollards, a raised concrete island and sign indicating a pedestrian crosswalk – and Carr clipped one of the posts with his rear wheel and slammed sideways into the sign, flipping rapidly 360-degrees before landing on his left hip.
Remarkably, after a time on the ground, Carr remounted his bike and finished the stage in a group with teammate Alex Howes at 12:01 behind stage winner Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel Start-Up Nation).
“Finished today’s Tirreno-Adriatico stage all OK,” Carr wrote on Instagram. “Thanks to everyone who’s asked after me having seen the crash on TV. If you like watching people ride into signposts at 45kph you can swipe left to see it.
“I’m a bit bruised on my right side and won’t be going for a good TT tomorrow as was my intention. But having seen the crash, I’m pleased to be back on my bike relatively OK.”
The lack of any protective padding around the obstacle or signalman to warn riders to avoid it highlights an ongoing issue with safety on open road courses, in particular in European towns where such traffic calming measures are prevalent.
An unmarked bollard caused a horrific crash in stage 1 of the 2015 Vuelta a Pais Vasco, leaving Peter Stetina and Sergio Pardilla seriously injured. More recently, New Zealand champion George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) crashed into an unprotected bollard on a narrow street during stage 6 of Paris-Nice and seemed to be dazed before remounting to finish the race.
The UCI rolled out new safety measures for 2021, with the appointment of an Event Safety Manager required for all races with immediate effect. The role is accountable to UCI Safety Manager Richard Chassot, who is “dedicated to the safety and the supervision of safety at events on the UCI International Road Calendar” according to the UCI.
Last season, the UCI was forced to respond to several serious racing incidents, including the crash of Fabio Jakobsen in Tour de Pologne, that of Steven Kruijswijk on a pothole-strewn road in the Criterium du Dauphiné, the fall of Remco Evenepoel and collision of Max Schachmann with a vehicle in Il Lombardia and potholes and bollards on the course in Tour de Wallonie.
The UCI noted that “certain fundamental safety measures” rolled out in 2020 were not respected by race organisers and vowed to step up course inspections.