A Crash Took Out 90% of the Peloton at the Tour de Bretagne
Crashes are so intrinsic to bike racing that it’s rare to watch a major race that doesn’t have a crash at some point.
What is even more rare, however, is a crash so massive, one that wipes out enough of the field, that it leads to the cancelation of an entire race.
That’s exactly what happened during Stage 6 of the seven-stage UCI 2.2-rated Tour de Bretagne on Sunday, which was also the race’s queen stage.
It was on a particularly muddy stretch of road during the French race that a few riders at the head of the group slid out, leaving nowhere for the peloton to go. In an instant, nearly the whole of the race was piled on top of each other, with just a few unscathed riders standing behind and no way around the melee. A tweet from UCI Continental Team Circus-ReUz-Technord claiming that 90 percent of the racers were involved in the crash was accompanied by a photo showing the terrible conditions of the road segment.
Circus-ReUz-Technord—who are the U23 affiliate of WorldTour team Intermarché-Circus-Wanty—later tweeted that most of their team was involved in the wreck and that their rider Jasper Dejaegher suffered a fractured wrist.
A fan-posted video shows the peloton descending down the narrow, mud-caked road at a high rate of speed. Though the video didn’t capture the initial crash, it quickly showed its aftermath, as it gobbled up most of the racers.
At first, organizers neutralized the races with hopes of an eventual resumption. However, it was soon decided that, due to a lack of official race ambulances—which were all in use, taking injured riders to local hospitals—to finish the race as a neutralized group.
In an interview with DirectVelo, race director Christophe Fossani said it was little more than a case of bad luck that led to the race-canceling crash.
“I don’t regret it,” Fossani said. “It was a nice little road. I only regret that there were ten meters of mud. Unfortunately, it was one of the first riders in the peloton who fell. If it had been one of the last… the story would have been different.”
Fossani continued to explain that he reported the slick segment of road to the rest of the race organizers, which led to police signaling the coming danger and even yellow flagging the peloton as a warning.
The Tour de Bretagne continued Monday with its seventh and final stage. Swiss racer Simon Pellaud of Tudor Pro Cycling holds the GC going into today’s final stage. French rider Nolann Mahoudo of CIC U Nantes Atlanique is twenty-six-seconds behind while American Luke Lamperti of Trinity Racing rounds out the top three, thirty-five-seconds down from Pellaud.
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