Edo Maas: UCI faces more pressure over safety after crash leaves Dutch cyclist with paraplegia

The 19-year-old was taken to hospital in Milan where he remains in a stable condition, but was told by doctors that he is unlikely to ever regain functionality in his legs following nerve damage in his spine

Lawrence Ostlere
Thursday 17 October 2019 14:43
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Team Subweb called on the cycling’s governing body, the UCI, to take action
Team Subweb called on the cycling’s governing body, the UCI, to take action

World Cycling is facing renewed calls to make cycling safer after the Dutch rider Edo Maas was diagnosed with paraplegia in his legs on Thursday. Maas crashed into a car that had mistakenly ventured on to the Piccolo Lomardia race course in Italy earlier this month.

Maas was on a fast descent travelling at around 70kph, according to the French rider Edouard Bonnefoix who witnessed the incident, when a car pulled out of a side road on to the parcours. The 19-year-old, who is one of Team Sunweb’s most promising young riders, was taken to hospital in Milan where he remains in a stable condition, but was told by doctors that he is unlikely to ever regain functionality in his legs following nerve damage in his spine.

In an emotional statement, Subweb called on the cycling’s governing body, the UCI, to take action. “Whilst this won’t undo this devastating tragedy, we once again call upon our governing body to prioritise all of their time and resources on securing and ensuring the implementation of safe race conditions for teams and their riders.”

Cycling has suffered a series of serious incidents in recent weeks. Belgian rider Bjorg Lambrecht died at the Tour de Pologne, while at The BinckBank Tour in the Netherlands and Belgium there were complaints by riders over dangerous routes. Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Tim Declerq said: “The hypocrisy of the cycling world. First we have a really touching minute of silence [for Lambrecht], five minutes later we have to destroy each other again on a bike lane-wide parcours with a million corners.”

The UCI sanctioned the BinckBank Tour with a fine and brought in a technical director for the 2020 race, which the Tour's organisers will pay for.

Following a meeting with the riders’ union (CPA), the UCI announced plans last week to create fresh safety measures, to be announced at the WorldTour seminar on 10-11 December.

“The safety of cyclists is an absolute priority,” said UCI President David Lappartient, “and I would like to thank the CPA for their cooperation at the meeting. Along with our partners from cycling’s various families, we have already done much to improve race conditions for riders, although recent events have reminded us that we can never rest on our laurels. In assuming a sense of responsibility shared by our Federation and the relevant stakeholders, we will come up with a joint response to the legitimate concerns of riders by taking strengthened actions as of next year.”

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