This is one of those stories that you only get in the world of pro cycling. Something so clueless, tone-deaf, hypocritical and stupid that it reads like an April Fool’s story.
It’s the kind of “Shoot Yourself In The Foot idea that pro cycling seems to generate on a regular basis.
Seriously, creating a new prize that encourages high speed crashes — as if the sport wasn’t dangerous enough already — is crazy. Consider all the UCI blather about rider safety and the rider unions’ desperation to get anyone to pay attention to their well-being, this new Giro d’Italia idea is a shocker.
So far the response from riders has been unanimous and can be summed up with a staggering head-snap and loud WTF? Coming out at the same exact time as Axeon rider Chad Young’s tragic death from severe head injuries sustained in a high speed crash on a descent, it makes you wonder when the Giro is going to wake up.
We’re reminded that former Giro impresario Angelo Zomegnan once said he put “art” into into every stage. What he meant was he put an inhuman amount of summit finishes and dangerous descents everywhere possible and rider safety be damned.
Mister Z is gone but the mentality remains, it’s Italian showtime with plenty of passion. In this case, the descenders prize may lead to dramatic crashes, insane risks and serious consequences.
You have to feel for the riders. If they’re not being run down by race vehicles and motos or forced into metal barriers, race promotors are dangling a bag of euros to encourage guys to take suicidal risks that also endanger the lives of the riders near them.
Meanwhile the UCI continues on with largely empty promises about safety improvements and never ending “studies” to determine fixes at some point in the far distant future.
This being the Giro d’Italia, it’s ironic that the organizers are going all out to honor the passing of Italian Michele Scarponi who was killed by a truck while out on a training ride. Then, at the same time they’re sending out an invitation to riders to take crazy risks, ripping down a mountain descent at over 60kph.
Has nobody at the Giro thought this one through?