METZ, France (VN) — Cycling legend Sean Kelly says daredevil racing style is to blame for crashes like the Tour de France saw in Friday’s sprint stage.
Kelly, who now works on the Eurosport TV broadcast for Great Britain, said riders are taking more risks today than when he was a racer during his heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.
“These kinds of crashes happen, but you have to ask, how did it happen?” Kelly told VeloNews. “Nobody wants to brake anymore. Everyone is pushing to be in the top 30 riders. Everybody is taking so many risks, and they will have crashes because of that.”
The Irish two-time green jersey winner has been asking around the peloton to try to understand why these high-speed crashes happen. He says the roads are the same as when he raced, most likely even better, but there are more crashes.
“I spoke to Bernie Eisel about it last year, and he said, the guys have no fear,” he said. “There are more crashes now, more, more, more, much more. The guys are taking more risks. Every little bit of space, they try to push through. That’s what’s causing the crashes. I can only say what I am hearing from the other riders, that they are taking other risks.”
When he reviewed the GC at the end of the day, Kelly knew it was a terrible day for many, while others survived to fight another day, most notably top pre-race favorites Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
“Today is a disaster for a team like Garmin. Rabobank, also lost their GC men. That crash wiped out so many GC riders,” Kelly said. “Evans and Wiggins have both had a very good run. Then there is the fight for third place for the podium. I think Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) could be the man. It’s all about surviving the first week and staying out of danger to get to the mountains.”