• Michael Rogers at the Tour de France in 2015 (AAP)Source: AAP
As cyclists respond to the Paris attacks Australian, Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) has highlighted the vulnerability of the peloton, and its fans, given the high numbers of spectators attracted to the Tour de France.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Cycling Central
17 Nov 2015 - 10:54 AM  UPDATED 17 Nov 2015 - 11:23 AM

The death toll from the coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in Paris on Saturday has reached over 120 civilians. By targeting bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France football stadium, the tragedy has left people feeling particularly shaken as their social spaces no longer feel safe.

This is not the first time that a major sporting event has been the target of a terrorist attack and, among far more immediate concerns, fears have been raised about the safety of riders and spectators at the Tour de France.

A distinct lack of barriers between cyclists and civilians characterise the Tour. Not only would attempts to line the route with barriers be near impossible, it would change the character of the race.

"You could only imagine the expense for the organisers to barrier the whole circuit for hundreds of kilometres, I don't think that's a feasible thing to do," said Rogers in a recent interview with Fairfax Media.

"Let's see, let's see, I think we have to take it step by step and we all have to understand that those possibilities are very difficult in cycling and it would absolutely kill the sport.

"It's been in the back of my mind, events such as the Tour, a big international event where the whole world is watching," Rogers said.

"A lot of riders do think about it because we pass a lot of people by the side of the road and it's quite easy for a potential attack.”

While the threat of danger is very real, the positive interactions with fans is also one of the biggest highlights of the Tour de France, as Rogers is quick to point out.

"We have quite a beautiful view from the peloton where we see so many smiling faces and that's a huge motivating factor for the riders as well," Rogers said.

"If you go back to the UK stages [of the Tour de France] last year there were literally millions of people out there and they all had smiles on their face, so it was a special moment for the riders."