Professional road cycling very nearly lost a lot of its leading lights this weekend, after several top riders decided to ignore a level-crossing during a race and were nearly hit by a train.
The group were riding in the legendary Paris-Roubaix race, in which Sir Bradley Wiggins was also competing, wearing the Team Sky jersey for the final time.
As the peloton approached the rapidly descending barriers, several riders decided to risk it and either skipped underneath or cycled round them, despite the warnings from the accompanying policeman.
Eventually the mounted Gendarme managed to stop the flood of riders, but only just in time as the high speed TGV came charging through. Thankfully the train wasn’t doing its top speed of 357mph at this point, but it still could have been pretty nasty.
What the hell were they thinking?
Of course the question circulating immediately afterwards on social media was – what the hell were they thinking? Quite apart from the personal danger to the cyclists (especially the guy in red who nips across at 0.17) surely the elite behaving like this sets a pretty bad example to the general cycling public?
Not only that, but as one Twitter user pointed out, skipping level crossings is strictly against the UCI’s road-cycling rules, so could potentially lead to the group being disqualified.
— Mathias Hamar (@Hamar90) April 12, 2015
The whole thing seems even more pointless when you consider that peloton stopped shortly after the incident to regroup – something that should have been expected given cycling’s code of sportsmanship.
All in all, it was a pretty bad move by the cyclists. If that’s what the best in the world do, is it any wonder that you get muppets like this on the roads?