• "Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear" (Getty Images) (EPA)Source: EPA
Dangerous driving by motorbikes on the narrow mountain roads during Stage 18 of the Tour de France cost Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang more than a chance at the podium.
Cycling Central

24 Jul 2015 - 8:51 AM  UPDATED 24 Jul 2015 - 9:03 AM

The Danish rider was bumped from behind by one of the press motorbikes as he led an attack up the day's penultimate climb, the Col du Glandon.

Initial television footage showed the Danish rider falling unexpectedly from his bike. An alternative view, from Denmark's TV2 Sport, later emerged on Twitter, which revealed that one of the press motorbikes had clearly bumped Fuglsang from behind, after it had narrowly missed Cannondale-Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal moments before.

Fuglsang, who was in the lead breakaway at the time of the incident, had pulled off the front ready for eventual stage winner Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) to take his turn driving the pace.

Stage 18 report
Bardet masters the climbs for Tour stage victory
Frenchman Romain Bardet made a winning attack from long range to win the mountainous Stage 18 of the Tour de France.

The Astana rider was able to remount his bike, chase down Bardet, and hold a 30-second gap through the final climb of the day.

Fuglsang was unable to regain his position at the front, though, and eventually finished the day 59 seconds behind the winning Frenchman, after riding the final 45 minutes with blood running from his right elbow and right hip as a result of the impact with the road.

"He can be happy that he’s not close to me now, that motorcycle driver," said a frustrated Fuglsang after he finished the stage.

Time lost to the crash not only cost Fuglsang the opportunity to contest the win, but to race for points in the king of the mountains competition, which he now trails by a slim four points behind Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Bardet.

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More frustrations soon followed as Fuglsang, and Astana sport director Dmitriy Fofonov, were fined 50 Swiss francs ($71) for "actions damaging the image of cycling" after hanging on to a biddon from Fofonov.

"If a motorcycle hadn't hit me I wouldn't be bleeding and I wouldn't have a fine from the commissaire," said Fuglsang who was clearly upset at the whole incident.

Astana was angry and disappointed that the stage saw an excessive number of race motorcycles at the front of the leading breakaway, causing pandemonium in the peloton.

The injury to Fuglsang is only one of several near misses at this year’s Tour.

The dangerous actions of moto-cameramen also made headlines in Stage 15 when Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was blocked from his team car and nearly knocked from his bike.

"The video camera was there and he was shoving past me,” said Sagan after the incident which saw Tinkoff-Saxo sport director Sean Yates fined for throwing a biddon at the offending cameraman.

“My (team) car was behind the motorbike, the motorbike stopped 10m from me and he blocked the car. Everyone was angry. The mechanic just threw the bottle. That was the reaction, because we were put at risk.”

Read the full article
Sean Yates banned after bottle-throwing incident
Tinkoff-Saxo sport director Sean Yates has been banned from riding in the team car on Stage 16 after a bottle-throwing incident in the closing 40km of Stage 15 at the Tour de France.

The driver of the motorbike that struck Fuglsang has reportedly been banned from the rest of the Tour for "dangerous driving that caused the fall of the rider”.

Given this incident is one of many that are putting riders’ lives at risk, it begs the question: are the press going too far to capture images from the road? And can better measures be put in place so someone else doesn’t have to crash, and lose the rewards of their efforts in the event, before more dangerous drivers are pulled from the event?

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