The pro peloton was tragically reminded of how dangerous racing on open roads can be Monday, when a member of Spain’s Guardia Civil died in a motorcycle crash during stage 16 at the Vuelta a España.
According to reports in the Spanish media, a motorcycle patrol officer accompanying race security died during the stage after crashing his motorcycle off the road and hitting a guardrail.
Details were still unconfirmed hours after the stage, but the Spanish wire service EFE cited sources within the Guardia Civil that the accident took place on the descent off the Puerto de la Cobertoria, the third of five climbs in Monday’s stage.
EFE reported that the accident occurred around 3:30 p.m. during the stage. The officer’s name has yet to be released.
Dozens of motorcycle officers accompany the Vuelta each stage, riding ahead and behind the peloton to ensure road safety during rolling road closures along the route.
Officials are investigating what might have caused the accident, but roads in the mountains of Asturias are narrow and often feature tight, off-camber corners. Despite forecasts of rain, it appeared that roads were dry at the time of the incident.
Spanish media reported that the officer was evacuated by helicopter to a nearby hospital, but his life could not be saved.