LAVAUR, France, (Reuters) – Riders and organisers need to sit down together to resolve the safety issues that have marred this year’s Tour de France, according to seasoned professional rider David Millar.
Several leading contenders have been forced to pull out of the race with broken bones after a series of spectacular crashes during the first week and Millar, himself, took a tumble last Sunday.
The Scot, who turned professional in 1997, rode in this year’s Giro d’Italia, one of the hardest grand Tours in the modern era.
“The Giro has always been a bit more crazy, at times more dangerous, and I think the Tour is attempting to be more like the Giro which is making the Tour more dangerous now, which it does not need to be,” Millar told Reuters in an interview yesterday before the start of the 11th stage.
“That’s a bit if a shame, I don’t think the Tour should be trying to copy the Giro.”
“They’re definitely trying to make the racing look more spectacular, for the spectators, and to the detriment of our safety at times.
“It’s the way it goes, the organisers push the limits until they pass them and we’re getting quite close to passing the limits of what is reasonable and I think there might need to be a rethink. Professional riders, who have their own association, the CPA, have yet to talk about the problems they have been facing on the Tour and elsewhere.”
Millar said riders did not talk about their problems.
“Everyone is just looking after themselves, that’s another part of the problem.
This is the highest stress environment that we experience as cyclists. There is no chit chat, there is no discussion,” he said.
However, he said, the organisers were not solely responsible for the crashes.
“We as riders hold a lot of responsibility as well, we race irresponsibly at times and don’t look after each other, I think a lot of the blame has to be put on us, the riders and not just the organisers,” he said.