During the Tour of Poland, a collision between Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen left the latter with critical injuries that required an emergency medical airlift. The collision took place during the final sprint and ended with Jakobsen hitting the metal barriers at 50mph.
This crush started a debate that led to a change in UCI rules. The bunch sprint is one of the most hectic stages of pro cycling. The race to the finish line at approximately 50 mph puts the racers with marginal room for error. The slightest bumps of tires cause a wipe down of the racers.
UCI enacted some rules to avoid such catastrophic crushes. For example, racers are forbidden from changing lanes once they launch a sprint. Racers are also not allowed to deviate from lanes that obstruct other riders, pull jerseys or saddles of other riders, intimidate or threaten another rider, kick, blow another rider’s head, elbow, knee, hand, or shoulder.
The New Rules
In February, the UCI introduced new rules to guide riders to a safe sprint finish. The new regulations include:
- Barriers should be secured together with no gaps and firmly attached to the ground
- Barriers should be 100meters out in narrow roads
- Photographers should be 50 meters behind the finish and less than 25% of the width road.
The new rules might be working since the 2021 World Tour has seen lesser safety concerns since the Jakobsen crash.