With European racing returning after the break, excitement and nerves are expected in all corners of the sport, from fans brimming with anticipation to riders ready to salvage the season albeit under a cloud of coronavirus concerns.
There’s enough danger in the peloton amidst a global pandemic without inopportune road furniture, something clearly lost on the organisers of GP Kranj, a Slovenian one-day race.
Kooij Olav of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team took the victory, having fended off riders from the NTT Continental and Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and Israel Cycling Academy teams.
However, as Olav sped away coming around the final bend, he had enough space to avoid a large bollard right in the middle of the corner, correcting his line before riding across the line first.
But behind carnage ensued, those who didn’t have a clear sight ahead, or had been boxed in during the rush for the line came shuddering to a halt. A video shows the third rider in the sprint for the line falling as he tried to avoid colliding with the bollard, with many others suffering the same fate.
A video catches the moment on camera, panning away to capture Olav’s win before panning back around, showing the mayhem. Bikes and riders strewn across the road, some remaining on the floor for quite some time.
Another video from a different angle shows the entire scene play out, albeit from a blurry distance.
“50 metres before the finish line. I mean WTF?!” wrote Mihai Simon on Twitter, reacting to the footage. “Isn’t it illegal to have a finish that dangerous?” added Rasmus Nowak Brandt, a Danish journalist.
Meanwhile, a few hundred kilometres to the east, stage racing returned in Romania with the Sibiu Tour, which was won by Bora-Hansgrohe’s Gregor Mühlberger, his team-mate Patrick Konrad finishing second.
48-year-old Davide Rebellin finished eighth overall, having started his professional career two years before Mühlberger had even been born.