The international cyclists' trade union CPA has made a strong push on Saturday to organize the BinckBank Tour. According to chairman Gianni Bugno, the stage race through the Netherlands and Belgium does not belong in the WorldTour because of the dangerous course.
"Riders may not risk their lives because the organization cannot comply with the safety rules," Bugno reports on behalf of the CPA. "This is unacceptable. A competition organized in this way does not belong in the WorldTour."
In recent days, many riders have complained about the BinckBank Tour route. They find the stages too unsafe because of the narrow roads, unmarked refuge hills, many bends and holes in the road near the finish.
"Our representative has reported the many problems to the organization and the UCI (the international cycling union, ed.)," Said Bugno. "Today the UCI safety officer is finally coming to the race. Tomorrow the final stage of this race will follow, but under these circumstances it is unacceptable to race."
"There are rules that must be respected," continues the 55-year-old Italian former rider. "At the moment we are not only interested in listening to possible penalties for the organization. Accidents must be prevented and we cannot continue like this."
Riders union no longer accepts the UCI working method
The CPA statement follows just two weeks after the death of Bjorg Lambrecht, who died last Monday at the age of 22. The Belgian fell in the Tour of Poland against a concrete sewer pipe. He was resuscitated on the spot and then taken to the hospital, where doctors could no longer save his life.
Last Wednesday, the peloton in the BinckBank Tour held a minute of silence in honor of Lambrecht prior to the third stage. According to Tim Declercq of Deceuninck-Quick-Step, the peloton "had to break apart again five minutes later on a course with the width of a cycle path with 1 million turns". Bugno wants the UCI to take action quickly.
"We are fed up", the two-time world champion on the road complains. "The UCI always thanks us for our reports, but does little to change things. We can no longer accept this approach. If the UCI tries to make cycling more attractive in this way, it really goes in the wrong direction."
On Saturday, the BinckBank Tour completed a short individual time trial through the streets of The Hague, which was won by Italian Filippo Ganna. The WorldTour course through the Netherlands and Belgium ends on Sunday with a hilly stage to the Wall of Geraardsbergen.