Safety in world tour cycling racing has been a concern for many years. It seems that every time there is a major incident, there’s a cry for change and improved measures, but then time passes, and our attention moves on before anything is implemented.
In this episode, we talk with Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, a South African World Tour professional cyclist racing with the AG Insurance-Soudal-Quickstep team. We also hear from Adam Hansen, a former UCI world tour pro cyclist who has won stages at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta Espagne and has completed 26 grand tours. These two come together to discuss professional road race safety and the obstacles around making this a top priority. Some of these include competing priorities of different stakeholders in professional cycling, road infrastructure, and quickly changing weather conditions.
Ashleigh and Adam will also give their perspective on safety in the pro tour and their thoughts on what needs to change to make racing safer, like the new SafeR project. He shares the current strategies that UCI and CPA are working on implementing with race organizers for safer racing.
Dede Barry 00:04
Hi and welcome to Fast Talk Femme with Dede Barry and Julie Young. And this episode, we will discuss safety and professional cycling, safety and World Tour bicycle races is an ongoing concern. It seems that every time there’s a major incident, there’s a cry for changes and improved measures, but then it’s quickly forgotten before anything gets done. Formula One racecar driving had similar issues for many years, as racing and cars became faster and faster. But after the death of Brazilian Formula One champion Ayrton Senna in 1994, the stakeholders finally banded together and change policies to improve safety measures. There’s no doubt that cycling needs a similar push to improve safety measures. In June at the Tour Switzerland, there were pre raised complaints over the proximity of a dangerous technical descent to the finish line on one of the stages. After many complaints, nothing was done about it. During the stage Swiss professional cyclists Gino Mater crashed and died on this descent. A decade ago. A similar incident happened in the Giro d’Italia when water Whalen crashed and died on a high speed descent. We accept that as part of the sport wouldn’t shouldn’t be. One week prior to Geno’s accident. The tour feminine and appear Annie was abandoned by the women’s peloton after two stages because of safety concerns. racers and team staff reported oncoming traffic during the race, as well as parked cars on the course that were impeding progress. Ashley moment possio was leading the tour feminie and epiphany when the final stage was cancelled. With a high level of experience and respect in the peloton, she and others stepped in and voiced concerns about safety. These racers were subsequently criticized by the race organizer, and finally, the UCI and CPA the professional cyclists union representative Adam Hansen stepped in and cancelled the final stage as they were not able to ensure the road conditions would be safe. Adam is a former UCI Pro Tour cyclists who has won stages at the Giro d’Italia in the Vuelta a Espana and completed 26 Grand Tours. He was elected as a president of the CPA in March 2023. And has been working hard at improving safety. And this episode will get Ashley and Adams perspective on safety and the pro tour and their thoughts on what needs to change to make the racing safer going forward. Ashley and Adam, thanks for joining us today.
Adam Hansen 02:29
Yeah, thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 02:30
Yeah. Thanks, Jamie. Great to be back.
Brittney Coffey 02:35
Hi, listeners, we’re so excited that you’re here to check out fast talk them a new podcast series. It’s all about the female endurance athlete. Get fast talk labs, we pride ourselves on being the pioneers of information and education in the endurance sports world for both athletes and coaches. If you like what you hear today, check out more at fast talk labs.com.
Dede Barry 03:00
Hi, Adam, we barely scratched the surface in terms of the highlights of your cycling career in our intro. So I wanted to hear from you on what the highlights of your pro cycling career were and what your transition was like at a pro cycling.
Adam Hansen 03:14
Well, I think for me personally, it was my two stage wins and the Grand Tours that was pretty personally nice for me, writing in such good teams, you know, HTC that was huge. One of the most successful teams ever. And with lotto also with Andre Greipel so many wins. But all the the the the strangest thing is and it took me a long time to appreciate it was every time a race starts, you go on the podium you sign on, they would never speak about anything except for my 20 Grand Tours in a row. And sometimes I’ll standing on the podium thinking you know, I was national champion, I want a station that you ruined. The built up didn’t talk about it. And I didn’t realize how unique this was because everyone wins stages. I don’t say everyone wins stage at the Giro. But every day someone wins in and it made me realize okay, the 20 Grand Tours in a row was something very unique. And I started appreciate it a lot more afterwards. So to me that was as to be the biggest highlight of my career. There’s just a consistency always been selected. Staying healthy. I think this is a very, very difficult task in cycling.
Dede Barry 04:17
Yeah, that’s incredible. Tell us what you’ve been up to, since you’re retired from Pro Cycling,
Adam Hansen 04:23
been very busy. So a number of things. I started to get into triathlons and then that was sort of overpowered with work and now I am become president of the CPA, which is the other writers union. And this has been a lot of work that’s sort of taken over my life at the moment.
Dede Barry 04:41
What was your motivation and your goals in leading the CPA?
Adam Hansen 04:45
You know, I was always part of the CPA a little before, and I just saw how difficult they have it. And to me it was really I thought of an impossible job to do. And because I showed interest before they are For me to run for president and actually said no at the start, because normally when you have a union is the employees first employers and it’s it’s pretty simple I don’t say it’s simple but it’s simple. We’re in cycling we have the employees being the riders employers being the teams. But then we’ve also got the UCI, which governs the rules. And then we’ve got the race organizers to so every time you negotiate not negotiating with one body in negotiating with four different stakeholders, and this is this is just a nightmare. And knowing this beforehand, for me was like this is it’s almost an impossible task. And I really enjoyed retired life, it was simple, just relaxing. I had a lot of spare time. And I sort of looked into the role and I thought, okay, it would be a good challenge for me, and the riders definitely need it. And what I saw with me being part of the CPA before, the biggest problem with the riders being part of the CPA is the young riders don’t care, they’ve just got the contracts, they’ve just got their new bikes, they just want to race, they want to focus all the time there. And it’s not until the older riders where they’ve been in system for 10 years, they’ve had enough, they want to stand up, they want to be more involved. And the small time they put in those changes do not affect them that affects the new generation by the time he gets implemented. And it’s just a reoccurring, that whatever writer puts his hand up doesn’t really feel the effect of of the work he’s done. And I know that, you know, the writers definitely need to be helped, it’s getting worse and worse. And I thought it’d be good challenge for me and and I think the probably the number one driving forces, I still got a lot of friends in the peloton. So a lot of them are young, younger than me. And I just wanted to help these guys out.
Dede Barry 06:43
Yeah, that’s awesome. For our listeners, can you explain the role and like the scope of responsibility that the CPA has in cycling? Like, does it represent just road cyclists? Or are all the UCI disciplines represented? And what is that scope?
Adam Hansen 06:59
So at the moment, it’s just road cycling, and we are looking into virtual cycling, and also, gravel racing. The reason why we’re looking into these other sports is because we want to get sort of ahead of the ball. And with road cycling, you have to be a professional athlete. And to be a professional athlete, you have to have a contract in place. That’s like the the joint agreement and the joint agreement is a agreement between the teams and the riders. So the teams are in a CPA, that we agree on a safe working condition contract. And then once we agree on that, we give it to the UCI and just today, we approved it for next year. So that’s very big news for us. So it’s been changed quite a lot. And the reason why I say this is because you can be in a continental teams with a contract, that’s the same as the joint agreement, which means you get paid a certain amount, and you follow all the regulations of the UCI and your classes professional even while you do not race in the professional category. So it is automatically all the World Tour riders, the pro tour riders and any continental rider that has a contract that’s replicated, like the 20 agreement, and also the will to women’s that’s who’s under the CPA,
Dede Barry 08:08
Adam, it’s super helpful to better understand the CPAs role within the greater professional cycling structure. Thank you for explaining that. Ashley, you joined us on fast talk fam earlier this summer. And you’ve competed in a number of events since then. But I wanted to circle back to one event, in particular the tour feminie and do Pirani you had a great start to the race and you are leading the race and the final stage was subsequently cancelled, I’d like to get your perspective on what led to the safety concerns and why that final race was cancelled.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 08:40
He is I mean, essentially, we were having real issues during the race, where you know, just traffic control was really below standard or below what we used to. Um, so yeah, just cars driving toward us on the course. And then in particular, I suppose on the first stage, in the final, it was particularly dangerous, where we were just about to launch a sprint coming around the corner and there was a car literally driving towards us like to be honest, this is where sometimes as a rider, I don’t really like to opt to be too involved in safety when it comes to actual racing, because I’m racing to win. So in that kind of situation, I have to actually be honest, like, Yeah, I saw the obstacles coming, but it’s not like I thought much of it. I was just 100% focused on racing. But when that obviously leads to an incident that, you know, causes harm, of course, we don’t want that to happen. So you’re in that moment I was just focused on on racing and going for the sprint and I didn’t necessarily in that moment feel in huge danger. But when you look back and then during the course of the next stage, we were all hypersensitive obviously to what was happening for the next stage they promised us because we had already so we had already neutralize the stage and ourselves as writers and team managers during the course of the of that first stage and So yeah, essentially what it boils down to is that the race organization, they were really doing their best. And this is where sometimes it’s hard to, to be super harsh on it, because they’re doing their best to create good opportunities for recycling, but in that particular instance, that over in or spend too much on TV exposure, and in that way, not being able to invest properly in safety. So, in that exact instance of the two returnees, I was very clear and saying, I don’t want to bash down the race organizers who are trying their best to do the best for us. But at the end of the day, there needs to be a priority, you know, there has to be a list of priorities and safety has to come before TV exposure. Because, you know, at the end of the day, you know, our lives and our livelihood are more important than being on on live television coverage. So it just seems that the priorities were just in the wrong order for that particular race. But it’s quite difficult in when you’re in that instance, because, you know, it’s quite difficult to come to a consensus out within the peloton what to do. Because, you know, everybody’s got different agendas, you know, as well, two teams that we’re where we generally need to take the lead. And actually, we’re not willing to add insurance at all, except, so we’re a continental team. But that’s often where you see the teams taking the lead is in the world to it, because they, they’re more secure. So that’s kind of part of the issue, when you have continental teams or smaller club teams, they’re just looking at every opportunity to get exposure or to get results or to get points. So it’s more difficult for them to find, you know, that that priority order. That’s where the World Tour teams really need to take the lead because they secure and, you know, they’ve, they’ve got a lot of things in place, which allows them to take those decisions more rationally, that makes sense. But yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, there’s always a safety representative at each race, whether that’s from the CPA. So the CPA always nominates a rider to be in charge of safety. As I said, you I don’t put my name forward for this kind of position at all, because I find it really difficult to do, being a race winner when you’re racing for results, you know, to kind of find that line, because it’s a bit like pushing through the pain barrier. I mean, that’s what we just do day in, day out. So finding the line between you know, just, you know, racing to win and looking, I don’t want to be looking or focusing too much on safety, if that makes sense in the moment, so I’m never one of those riders, but there is always a rider who is in charge. And if any of us in the peloton are feeling unsafe or an easy, then we know beforehand who this rider is. So you would have to go through that rider or that’s generally how we deal with the situation and say, Hey, I’m not happy with the situation. What do you think we should do? And then it often would be a bit of communication between, you know, that particular rider and some of the team cars and then, you know, essentially, in the case of the trucker news as a peloton, we decided to stop so the rider representative man got everyone in agreement to okay, we stopping then the race Organa comes organize it obviously comes to the fore you nominate a couple of of riders from teams to go and have a conversation, a couple of DSS and maybe join in. And then after the race and of course the CPA is brought into the equation, if that makes sense.
Dede Barry 13:11
Yeah, that’s interesting. I was curious as to the race organizers response because I heard varying reports, but it almost sounded like there was some level of bullying from the race organizers when the protests happened and the peloton stopped. Yeah, it was quite
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 13:27
difficult because in this particular instance, there was a little bit of a conflict of interest to be totally honest, in that Marianne Pinay was one of the people involved in the race organization. Yet she was also very heavily involved in the CBA. And so I do find like, I really respect Marianne, she has done a lot of great work with CBA. I think she has subsequently stepped away. But she was struggling to put a neutral cap on in this instance, in particular. And I think even in her case, it was partly her fault to be pushing so heavily for TV exposure, because like she was really trying to make a point around, you know, what women’s cycling needs and trying to do the best woman cycling in terms of bringing good exposure, but it was still a small race. You know, it’s not a water race. It’s not a highly ranked race. So I just feel like, you know, the priorities weren’t 100% In order, and that’s where safety Yeah, was unfortunately neglected. So at the end of the day, in this particular case, it went to the most extreme situation where the UCI stepped in and forced them to cancel the race. And I don’t think the race is going to happen again. So this is always the situation that we’re dealing with is that at what point do you become super hard, super clear. And then unfortunately, that race might not exist anymore, but maybe it shouldn’t exist if they can’t prioritize what what’s most important than that safety? I think at the end of the day, I’m happy that the UCI made the call. And yeah, let’s suppose the right call was to cancel the race and to make a very clear message, but I won’t be surprised at the race stuff. didn’t exist next year, because obviously the ramifications for them were pretty huge.
Dede Barry 15:04
Yeah, I mean, it is too bad if the race gets canceled going forward. But I mean, in my mind, safety should come first in any event. I agree. So have you faced situations like this and other events? I mean, it’s always
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 15:16
a bit of an issue, to be honest, like, around safety and how far we take things. I mean, in every race, we have traffic obstacles, or islands or road furniture. And there’s always sometimes some debates around what’s safe and what’s not safe. As I said, like I find this sometimes quite difficult to find the line because as a racer, we were going above and beyond we pushing ourselves, it’s about taking risk, but it’s calculated risk. So yeah, sometimes I feel like it is quite difficult nowadays, to find the balance, you know, where race organizers are sometimes organizing Sprint’s that are just silly. Like, why are we coming into from a three lane road into one lane road in the last 500 meters? I don’t know, it’s just an example. So but then at the same time, like it’s not totally foreign, like these are things that we that we are having to do through different races. So I don’t know, maybe I’m actually not the best person to talk to you about this, because I find it quite difficult to be totally sort of neutral about these things. Like I’m bike racer, if I’m told to race something, like I’m gonna go about it in the best way possible. And I’m pretty skilled in the peloton. So funny, like, you know, I know what it takes to, to be in the front at the right moment. And usually, I managed to execute that relatively safely. But the problem in women’s cycling, often in general, and I suppose men’s cycling, too, it’s if you have these different in skills levels, that’s where things go wrong. And that’s quite common in women’s cycling, where, you know, you have talent that rises to the fore quite quickly. And so they don’t really have as much experience in a big bunch or in your countries where road furniture are more common. And so that’s where we often see things going wrong because of the disparity in in skills, levels. But generally speaking, I don’t really feel that I’ve really been put hugely at danger in terms of the races that I’ve had to do. I do feel that the Safety Council or whatever they call it now, by means of the CPA, and then these rider representatives who are nominated for each race, I really do feel that I can trust that the right calls are being made.
Dede Barry 17:29
Yeah. So you touch quite a bit on the dynamics between the riders, directors and race organizers. But I guess I find myself I was thinking about those who have skin in the games in terms of like monetary investment, and then the bottom line return on investment. But I was just curious as to your thoughts on like, the directors and the teams, do they typically back the riders in these situations like in canceling or curtailing the stages, or are the directors and the teams pushing for the races to continue, for example, and the tour barony so for
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 18:02
sure, we had 100% support from your Linda her who was our race director, the race and then from the team in general. So they were very respectful of how we felt. I mean, Julian is also a you know, not so long ago that she was racing on the peloton. So she still really understands what it’s like to be racing and to be subjected to those kinds of conditions.
Julie Young 18:25
Adam, can you help us understand the complexities of making road cycling safer?
Adam Hansen 18:31
Before I ran for President, I asked what the riders want, if I was become present, what would you want me to do? And they said is things getting out of control and safety? So when I was looking into this whole thing, okay, so to make a change, for first look, the UCI regulations, which I call them Regulations now, but before I thought there are rules, and everything’s just a recommendation. So when you hear about the barriers in the in the last kilometer of race, it’s only recommendation. When you’re talking about barriers with the legs sticking out where riders can hit them. It’s also recommendation, organizers do not have to do this, they do not have to follow it. Everything that the sides put in place is simply a recommendation. And what I wanted to do first was a thought, Okay, first, we have to make someone accountable. And it’s not to blame them. But if they’re held accountable when something goes wrong, then maybe they’ll work a bit better, and we can have safer races. So I spoke to a few lawyers, and I was really surprised with the answer. And they said the teams are accountable if something is wrong in the race. Wow. I was really confused. I was like the teams. He goes, Yeah, because and I know this law is the employers must provide a safe working environment for the employees. And the riders are employed by the employers and employers send them to these races. So if anyone’s accountable, it’s a teams. And now when you’re trying to improve the safety in in the races, it’s hard to make the teams accountable and force them to fixate for courses, because a lot of the teams are struggling To get the funds to have a cycling team, and when you talk to the organizers, a lot of them are struggling last, or businesses some organized making good money. And when you’re talking about vapor barriers, so if you’re looking at the barriers, and Belgian, the plastic ones that they have everywhere, so just these barriers require four times for trucks to deliver them and store them and everything takes so much to set them up, they cost extra money and the conditions of having these barriers, you can’t have your sponsors on them, because the company wants to sponsor themselves on. So just the cost factors a lot. And then on the on the other side is you got to organize that want to buy barriers, they don’t want to build them because they’re so afraid that the UCI will create a safe working barrier and say, Okay, everyone must use these barriers, and the organizers must use these barriers. And so the organizers sort of sitting on the fence waiting at the UCI is going to make this the UCI doesn’t really want to do it because they don’t want to say this is safe and something goes wrong. And the person that’s accountable is the teams. And it’s just, it’s a bit of a nightmare to try and get everyone in the same room and create a nice dialogue where we can just come to a nice agreement to make it safer. What I tried to do is, say to the teams that, you know, we saw one rider this year, crashed and amsu hurt his wrist. And he was out for two months. And I don’t know his FICO and how much he gets paid. But he probably cost the team half a million euro every month, he’s just sitting at home. So this is a good incentive to sort of okay, come on teams is actually important to you, you lose money if you’re right at home, not doing anything because they still get paid. So to negotiate with the teams and UCI, it’s difficult and to add more complexity to that you have the UCI that has these regulations. And then the commerce is at the races of volunteers. And they’re not really part of the UCI, they’re called UCI commerce years, but every decision they make, it’s sort of the UCI can’t overturn them, because they’re only volunteer commerce is it’s not a professional referee as such. So this is this is another dynamic that a lot of people miss out also and it is difficult, but it’s coming along, a lot of things have changed and things will be better, I should say maybe in the next six to one year improve a lot.
Julie Young 22:18
Well, it is interesting to hear you say that because the writers are the asset, you know, and you would think the teams would be strongly supporting the riders. But I understand there’s other factors involved in terms of that return on investment.
Adam Hansen 22:31
Yeah, there’s definitely other aspects. And you would think that the teams would always be on the side of the riders, but they’re not always in the sight of the riders. And I’m not here to talk about the teams. But unfortunately, some teams see riders as racehorses, man’s have more more guys at home. So if a rider is injured, it’s like, Ah, it’s okay, we got another one, you can call someone else up. If you’re not well, either someone else or filling a spot, there’s always reserved. So that’s, that’s probably one of the biggest problems in cycling. And it’s also in women’s cycling, too. There’s not as many women in each team. But you know, everyone gets treated the same same mentality where you have this aspect. And then on the other aspect, you know, in took care of us, for example, in this race, it wasn’t the safest race that was on. And then there was a voting if the race should continue or not, if the riders wanted to do it, and I forgot the numbers off the top of my head, but there’s a high majority of riders that did not want to do it and how we did the voting was one rider per team. And they were discussed internally, and that rider would vote on behalf of the riders in the team. So not the team’s decision, the riders in that team. And then we had the voting for the teams and the teams majority wanted to race. So you have this aspect where you have teams wanting the girls to raise where the ladies did not want to race, they didn’t feel it was safe, where the rod is the one that sees everything. So you know, why should the teams be making these choices? I can’t imagine
Julie Young 23:59
that creates a great rapport, you know, and sense of trust between the riders and the teams when the teams aren’t looking out for the best interest in health and longevity of the rider. Oh, of
Adam Hansen 24:11
course. I’m not saying it’s acceptable. It’s not acceptable. But I understand what happens. You know, there were valuable points up for grab there. There were some teams in a very good position to get the points. You have the sponsors on TV. This was a race on Eurosport and had great coverage. So this was a huge bonus. So you can see that the team’s interests were very different to some of the riders. But also having said that there are some teams that were very, very nice to the riders.
Julie Young 24:38
What is also really interesting, it’s like anything else, just understanding the behind the scenes factors and determining the decision making like just as you were talking about the barriers that’s so interesting, like just things like that, that from the outside. We have no idea that’s what’s going on there. You know, I would say Adam, like just Dede and I were chatting about this and from our perspective, like when we were racing UCI, it doesn’t seem like things have improved that much. But to your point, it’s such a slow process. And I kind of imagine this is like, the true definition of endurance is really continuing just to pick away at this. And I’ve heard you in other podcasts and the scope of work just seems absolutely endless. Like you don’t have enough time in the day to kind of be dealing with all this. But at this point, how are you strategizing and prioritizing the changes that need to happen? Or? Or do you feel like it’s still a little bit like putting out fires as they come up?
Adam Hansen 25:35
Yeah, it’s definitely putting out fires as they come up. And it’s never just a small fire. How my day happens when something like that happens to appear in is, basically soon as it happens, I just have to drop everything doesn’t matter where I just really have to drop everything, and I’m on my phone. If I’m not at the race, I’m on my phone, and I’m contacting just everyone around for the pennies. For example. One night, I went to bed at three o’clock in the morning, 330. And I had to get up at seven o’clock. Because I had an argument with the the organizer, they said one thing I said another thing, so I rewatched the race from one o’clock in the morning to three o’clock in the morning, and I’m 25 speed and I was taking screenshots of all the cars are coming on the road because I was insured, no cars came on the road. And I saw it when I was watching the race. And I wanted to find out all these images, and I was speaking to a different organize that found a different route that was more safe for stage three. And we were discussing that until like 1130 at night. And this is super nice. This is someone that was not in the part of that, that race, their organization. And he was really trying to help me out. He knew the roads, they knew the area was organized for a different race. And he said this is a much safer option. Because on stage three, the girls would go through city and then after that to a climb and then down the climb and through city again. And what we were afraid is they were not motorbikes, so then you’d have groups everywhere. And when you have groups everywhere, that’s when you need motorbikes on the front and the back of the groups to get the cars off the road. And if there was multiple groups, and we were always pretty sure, in this situation that some ladies were not protected by motorbikes and getting all this information. And in the end, you know, I had to I really wanted a part of me is like, yeah, the organizer, like you don’t understand how much work and effort has gone into these races. And, and to me, it’s like, Well, okay, even if I don’t, in my heads, like I would feel so guilty. If I accepted that as a reason for a race to go on. And a car hitter lady the next day, and I had the chance to do something and the chances of a car hitting someone is small. But if it happened, and we saw on stage one, there were cars in the last one kilometer this race. If it did happen, yeah, I would feel I would feel terrible if I if I had some power to stop that from happening. I don’t think I could live with myself because I was like, Okay, it’s true, you know, I’m not sure something could happen. And they say that they could improve things. And so on this side it can be it’s a bit difficult also, when you know, the organizers, your friends one day and the next time. They’re not so happy with me. But the good thing is that they understand the cause. And that’s that’s definitely a positive thing.
Julie Young 28:16
Yeah. Well, I think this is similar to being an athlete, oftentimes, we can really fixate on what we need to do better. But it’s also important to celebrate the successes. So like at this point, what are the progress pieces that you feel you’ve made?
Adam Hansen 28:30
First thing is just more understanding how, how races are organized. I think this is a very important aspect because what I found out is like they’ll do a briefing to the motorbike riders on how to protect the peloton. And I think a lot of them aren’t paying attention and more going to the races and seeing how this works. For me to have a better understanding this has helped quite a lot. What I’ve noticed is me being more transparent on social media has helped quite a lot to get public opinion behind me and organizers kind of I don’t want to say they hear me a little but it’s they do fear me a little and this is kind of helped quite a lot. And no organizer wants something written badly about their race. And I’ll never, ever say this is a bad race. I’ll just highlight what happened in the race. And that’s what they do not want. Other thing that’s been working on the side that’s been really helpful is I don’t know if you’ve heard of a program called safer and safer was basically established before I became president, but they were very secretive over this part, I’m not sure why. And once I saw that I was very I wasn’t really wanting to work on the safety they they included me into this program, which is good and the CPAs included. So what this is, is it’s part of the the organizers of the teams, the the organizers, the UCI and a CPA. And we have meetings every Thursday and we speak an hour and a half together on how we can improve things to make races safe. So next week, we have to have Luxenberg and all of us would be going to of Luxembourg. And we will be doing an audit on the race. So first up, they’ve sent us all the everything their schedules, the checklist, how they’re preparing the race, where the barriers will be, where the danger zones, which islands will be protected, where the marshals be standing, how the motorbikes should be working. We get all this information, we assess it, then we’ll do our own before the race. And we’ll see what we find and what we don’t find. And then we talk to other volunteers or the staff to see if they’re overworked, what experience they have. How do they do the safety control, when the safety car goes in front of the bunch, we’ll do a full assessment of the race. And it’s not to see if tool Luxenberg is safe race. It’s for more for the safer organization to learn how organizers do it. And we have ASOS coming with us we have RSCs coming with us and you know they’ll have value input. Also, we’ve got Scott Sutherland coming with us who does a lot of races in Flanders and Carol Evans, race and Australian also. So we’ve got a lot of valuable people. And basically, we’re trying to create a standardization for races and a checklist and try and make things more standard for the athletes. And this will also include in the future of standard signage and is where the marshals should stand. And should they have whistles. So for example, should a marshal stand in front of a car’s parked on the road Oh, shoot is down 40 meters in front of the car, to give more warning to the riders and create a more standardization where all races follow the standard then make it safe for the riders.
Julie Young 31:29
It’s just such a huge investment of time just listening to this, like every Thursday and being on this and meeting and so thoughtful in terms of all the details. And I hope all the writers understand what’s going on behind the scenes to help them improve the safety of their workplace.
Adam Hansen 31:46
I’m sure they don’t. But that’s okay. That’s okay. That’s okay. You know, they’ve got a job to do. And their job is not to make sure the regulations that are put in place, I think that’s sort of our job to make sure that’s happening. And also in one side, you know, I don’t want them to think about it, the last thing they should think about, they should focus on themselves and racing and doing the best Cycling is a sport that takes over your whole life. It’s not something you just do on the weekend and train three or four times a weekend, these athletes were you know, hard enough to worry about more things than they have to.
Julie Young 32:18
Well, I think they’re fortunate to have a stronger voice, you know, looking out for them. Because I think, again, when Didi and I were racing, I think everyone thought about this, but it never really happened. So it’s great to see it materializing. And one last question for you. What are your priorities moving forward? Like the
Adam Hansen 32:37
pay to be a lot better for the riders or like TV revenue to come to the riders? I think this is the major thing. We made the agreement on the joint agreement today. So what that means is insurance has really improved with the riders, a lot of riders didn’t have very good insurance. And it’s it’s terrible to say this, but some some riders been racing in Canada or China or Australia with no insurance. I shouldn’t say no insurance, but no real insurance. So they had more travel insurance, not dangerous sports insurance, where these insurance companies would not have covered them if something had gone wrong. So we’ve improved this in the joint agreement. And the joint agreements already existed for the men’s and we’re pushing to have it for the women’s to because they have to have it they shouldn’t they have to have it. And I already spoke to a lot of the women that parents should be asking for the agents. This is also like how I like to work in some senses. When I’m negotiating with the teams with a joint agreement. I don’t want to talk to the writers because I know the writers don’t know much about their contract. So I asked the writers if you have an agent, give me an agent, and I’ll talk to them. And the agents they know more about the writers contracts and the writers do I spoke to three agents from the females and much more from the men’s and I asked okay, what are you happy with the contract? What do you not, and then with one of the agents from the women’s team actually, he found all these holes and insurances made me more aware of it. And then I became a little insurance expert here. So the number one goal there was improved insurances for the riders also, if they have serious accidents and in the sense of if they will get paid and how long for and how it’s been distributed to them better international insurance better life insurance. So this has been improved quite a lot. The minimum wage will be going up next year for the men’s and we hope to match the the women’s to the men’s new minimum wage in the future and also make sure that the women’s have a joint agreement because some of the contracts that the women’s have with the teams is is terrible. And we’ve been pushing to have a second category with the Women’s Professional because they need this but the UCI is already starting this so this is great. And TV revenues here. Definitely number one, I think the riders give the whole life to the sport and they should deserve more of the cake. Also,
Julie Young 34:49
what’s the riders and health insurance? I knew Andy and I were racing. We are typically independent contractors with the teams and covered our own health care. Is that how it is now or is it our ride? As employees, other teams and the teams are covering health care,
Adam Hansen 35:03
it’s makes quite a lot. So riders prefer to be independent contractors, then today, a lot of the teams are preferring them to be employees, and cycling is it’s a nightmare for insurance companies, because what usually happens is you have a team, and a team will give the athlete insurance everywhere except for the home residence. Because normally the everyone has insurance in the home residence just through the health system that they have. Obviously, in America, that’s a totally different situation. And in other parts of Europe, you have some countries are better than the others. So for the teams to to work out this insurance is very problematic, because they just can’t get the one package for everyone. And then also, when we’re talking about traveling, not all riders go to Canada. So this has been problematic. And then with the independent contractors, their insurance plan that it’s more up to the riders, but it’s the team, they’re responsible that the riders have this. So that’s part of the joint agreement also. And this gets complicated also with the pension. Because if you’re an independent contractor, by the joint agreement, you must and UCI you have to create your own pension plan to this is also different in every country. And as you know, a team has sometimes I was in a team months with 17 different nationalities. So it’s a very problematic for them to work it out for the different athletes, but it is always better to be an employee, yes, you might get paid a little bit less. But overall, it is better in terms of your pension and also your insurances.
Dede Barry 36:39
Adam, it sounds like you’re really doing a great job of moving everything forward in a positive direction. Just even getting all these issues out on the table and talking about them more publicly and trying to bring all the stakeholders together is an important first step. Yeah, I applaud you for that. It’s It’s amazing. And it’s not an easy undertaking. There was a couple of things that you brought up earlier in the discussion, specifically around the UCI and the UCI making recommendations rather than mandates or rules around safety of the courses at the events, and then also around the Pro Cycling teams not necessarily taking interest in protecting their assets, the riders, do you feel like the safer safe road cycling group and this initiative will move everything in the right direction in that regard? Because I feel like that could be a real barrier going forward to implementing the changes that you’re trying to make if that culture doesn’t change. And the rules don’t change? Yes. So
Adam Hansen 37:43
my idea is safer is that the people aren’t safer at the moment, I think they are thinking in a good manner. And we’re all agreeing on everything at the moment. So that’s very good. And I think it’s very difficult for like myself at the moment, I’ve been interviewing the riders seeing what they want in terms of regulations. And what I want to do is have a bit of a handbook done. And then once that’s done, I give it back to the riders they go through and they say yes, that’s that’s what we want. We want marshals not standing in front of the car, but 40 meters in front of a car with a whistle. And once I have all that the plan is to go to UCI and say Well, that’s what the riders want you implemented and then the organizers follow up. The benefit was safer is that if I can present that to safer, and teams agree, and they say yes, because a lot of safety things can be improved without extra cost, just by Marshall standing in different area. Yes, padding barriers cost more, but there’s a lot of things. Also one rider gave me one example is when a motorbike has to go back through the peloton, instead of just going off the road or if they can’t get off the road instead of stopping and whistling drive 25 kilometers an hour. And then let the bunch slowly go past riders just little things like this, the education of the motorbikes can make a huge difference. And once I have all this material complete and the riders checked it off, and we have the safer group, if we have good dialogue within each other as we do now. And you have the organizers agree and you have a because it’s not just one organizer in there. We’ve got many organizers in there. And we’ve got many of the teams in there involved and we’ve got the CPA and we’ve got commerce is also in the group and then we’ve got the UCI too. And if it all makes sense, and everyone’s on board, there’s no reason why the UCI should not implement these things. And I do believe this new body could make a big difference. I like this this new safer thing at the moment. We’ll see how it goes with Luxembourg. Also, one thing I didn’t say about Luxembourg is when we go there they also this was not my idea but it was someone else’s ideas that we ordered teams. So they’re actually going to be looking into Israel put the hand up and also because this is all testing at the moment Israel put the hand up and also jumbo so when we’re at Luxenberg we’ll also see how the teams work. And this is how much detail will go and we’ll see what time the mechanics finish the working on the bikes if it’s too late if the transfer is too long if they get enough rest if the bikes are done, worked on proper way, if the if any of the staff members are overworked and how the sports directors drive in the convoy, if they if there’s a crash, do they swing around the left side and take out another right or do they stay in and wait until the doctor car goes through and more sees for structure behavior team behavior? And as looks like in my opinion, at the moment, it’s looks like it’s going in a very good direction. And I think the power of all the other stakeholders behind it can make a difference in the future.
Dede Barry 40:37
Yeah, I think that cooperation is going to be really key. So statistics are showing that peloton is are racing at higher speeds with each generation. And although there’s no statistics available publicly around this, it seems like there are worse crashes some of that may have to do with equipment but I was also kind of thinking you know, back to router Whelan’s accident and the JIRA Italia, I forget what year it was, but it was about 10 years ago, and then jado made our staff and the tour Switzerland this year. And it made me curious as to whether the UCI or the CPA as discussed measures to slow down the peloton, particularly on dangerous dissents or pinch points on the courses. Yeah, good point. So
Adam Hansen 41:19
if you look at Arenberg, for example, in parachute Bay, it’s a nightmare of a cobble section. And for those listening, that’s never done it. It’s like the World Championships sprint line is at the start, you are racing into four pole position coming into this couple section at 50 to 60 kilometers an hour, and you don’t ride it, you sort of hold the momentum through it. And I think this year was crazy. I even had sports directors asked me like what’s going on? Is this just to see broken bones and broken bikes, and there’s so many crashes. And what we’re actually discussing for these these dangerous points, as you as you said before, is how about instead of going straight onto it, we turned right, do a u turn one at corner, come back, take another ride. And then you sort of enter it, you know, through a corner, not at 55 kilometers now but maybe at 35 kilometers an hour. And it’s not the best thing for the riders. But you know, you still have these special historical parts in the race to be involved in the race but you’re reducing the peloton speed by 20 kilometers now, which could do quite a lot. So we are thinking about these things. It’s a bit harder for for the dissents especially in the recent one you know even if we do everything on our on our side in the form of educating the riders the organizer doing everything made sure the roads safe and protection everywhere. We do have to step up the game with education to the riders when I was the Twitter Francis and dangerous to send sell talking about and I went to them, I did them, I videoed them so the riders could see it. And every time I posted it my mind to the riders, I would say just remember, cycling is a dangerous sport. It’s also in your hands. And I think this is a something that’s sort of forgotten within the riders where it’s just, you know, that they they forget that they have even I didn’t even know this when I was racing pitch, you have a bit of stylophone on your head. And that’s it, you have no protection at all just like her and and the fastest I went was 121 kilometers an hour and guys were going much faster than the on the same descent. And it’s it is a little bit mental in a way. It’s so you know, I think riders have to be informed theater and and realize that there is life after cycling and just think twice,
Dede Barry 43:39
probably especially the young riders who don’t have the experience the crashing experience to draw on yet. I think that when you’ve been around a long time, like you were at them and you see the possibilities and and you start to take more precaution, but that peloton is getting younger and younger. And yeah, probably some of those young riders do need a little bit more education around the risks that they’re taking.
Adam Hansen 44:05
It’s exactly what you said we spoke about this also in the sense where the peloton is younger, and you have younger guys doing these bigger races. And these bigger races are the ones with the mountain down hills, the huge mountain down hills, where I remember 15 years ago, if you had a 24 year old rider he was super young. But to be 24 He did seven years of racing in Belgium on the flat you know and that was technical and handling bike handling skills and learning bike handling skills and all that. And now you’ve got 19 year olds there was a 19 year old that year or this year and I think it was his second year or like that just blew my mind where he’s doing all these two cents and he’s just got no pro years experience and he’s just racing downhill. That’s the other thing that people also forget. When you look at Formula One drivers Formula One drivers do the same circuit every single year. They have in a computer game version. They practice they practice they practice in road soccer thing we do to sense that you’ve never seen before you go, you race down a mountain and you have no idea about the corners, you trust the rider in front of you. If he stops pedaling, you stop pedaling around the corner. The pedals, you know, it’s a bit stroke, you know, they take huge risk, and it just has to come back to education.
Dede Barry 45:16
Yeah. Another issue that I see not necessarily being addressed properly is the safety of the bikes. You know, the time trial bikes, for example, the way they handle on high winds, along with the super deep dish wheels can be an issue, and he saw two of their riders crash to their biggest assets, really, you can burn owl and Chris Froome crash on their time trial bikes. But also, you know, there’s this trend towards super narrow handlebars at the moment and brake hoods pushed in super far. And I see that across all levels of the sport on the road. I see it at the junior races in Canada in the US, I see it at the pro level. I think that affects handling. But it seems to me that currently speed Trumps control at the moment. And if the bikes can’t be handled properly, and can’t be controlled, in my opinion, they just shouldn’t be raised. But are there any efforts being made right now to control the safety of the bikes?
Adam Hansen 46:15
Yes. So the Giro, I surveyed the riders on what they wanted as brake levers, and I wanted them to have a bit of a voice before the UCI comes in. And quite a lot of them were against the narrow ones. And we had a few meetings discussing it. And the feedback that I get from rides, a lot of a lot of crashes have happened from it. And the UCI doesn’t see this, they just see the crashes. And they don’t see exactly why. And what I’m trying to do is try and get a larger voice from the peloton that they do not want these type of brake levers coming in. So it’s a bit of a win. And I’ve been dealing with Michael Rogers at the UCI and there will be a rule put in place. And I’m working with MC with this with we’re trying to work out how we can do this in a way where it can be implemented with the brake levers because we were talking about all different ratios to have and it’s difficult because you can now have these flared out and or bars of gravel style but they’re using on the road now. And you can still have your break good straight, and then you drop some further out and because of that, this would sort of break the ratio that they wanted to use to try and steer riders away from getting the brake woods in. But there should be something implemented this for next year. I completely agree with you time trial bikes, some of them unraidable. Like I always never enjoyed riding some of my time trial bikes it was you had no control and speed definitely trumped safety. This is one good thing about I know a lot of people joke about the 6.8 kilogram rule on bikes. But when you do have this, you do see that manufacturers do not take risk on the actual structure of the bike. But with these deep wheels, yeah, they’re just getting out of control.
Dede Barry 47:56
Yeah, it’s good that there’s talk of assessment and potential measures being put in.
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Dede Barry 48:27
Ashley, I want to talk about weather conditions and what’s appropriate. It’s been really interesting to watch the differing and lack of consistent responses to weather conditions and races since I’ve been involved in the sport. And I know this is a challenging thing for organizers and directors and writers to plan for because weather can change at the last minute. But you know, just for example, in terms of weather conditions, we’ve seen images of Andy Hampsten riding over the snowy via pass in the 1988 Jarrow or the torrential rain and dark conditions at this year as well as Spania prologue, the media and the fans are drawn to those epic race images. And I think they really glorify them. But ultimately, I’m always thinking about the athletes and how they’re risking their health to ride in those conditions. I think the organizers and promoters who may have never raced bikes at the UCI level don’t always understand all the nuances and risks and challenges of racing at that level and inclement weather. So it’s vital to have the voice of the racers heard to create a balance in the decision making. But in my opinion, the course is needed to be appropriately safe, you know, in order to hold the race. Ashley, you’ve raced for many years and as a racer, what do you believe are basic human rights in terms of racing conditions?
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 49:44
Yeah, that’s a good one to say one, human rights. I mean, at the end of the day, none of us actually have to start I think this is part of the problem is that we become so accustomed to having to push ourselves having to go You know, into the red, you know, that’s part of our sport that sometimes it’s difficult for us to find the line, you know, so even me into right now I say, I’m not particularly good at finding that line because you become so accustomed to it, you know, like the level we riding at these these days and the way we have to dig so deep and go so far into the red to win races, like, is that really normal? I don’t really know. To be honest, I think sometimes it’s our own fault that we don’t know how to find that line. And that’s why it’s really important that the people that are put in the position as representatives of the peloton are able to find that line and to be more rational about it, because I think that often we don’t necessarily have the full, you know, rational approach. As a bike racer.
Dede Barry 50:48
I mean, I remember what I raised, I was wanting to be focused on on winning and, and putting all my energy and focus into that you almost don’t want to divert your attention to anything else, right leading into an event.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 51:00
You don’t want to admit, even to yourself, like I’m, I’m particularly bad at this, like even if it comes to my health, like I’ve just been racing at the Tour Rahman V, where we’re sure I’m probably suffering from from burnout or chronic fatigue, and my heart rate just would not come up. And it was it was quite scary, really low. But I still continued to raise I didn’t have to raise, I could have stopped, but I still did it. You know what I mean? And actually, I think, yeah, it’s a whole mentality that possibly needs to start changing. But then how do we find that line? Because if you’ve already admitted in your mind beforehand, that the conditions are going to be an ideal or that you’re not going to be able to cope, then you’ve already given up, you know, so that we basically conditioned not to think about those things or to not focus on those things, because then you’ve potentially already given up because the mind is such a big part of our performances. So that’s what I find quite difficult.
Dede Barry 51:57
Yeah, I think honestly, like that ability to compartmentalize and narrow your focus is part of what makes you a great bike racer, but it can also put you in dangerous situations. And I think as a as a bike racer, we all assume a certain level of risk. And like you said before, finding that that line of when it’s too much can be challenging. You know, it’s often not until after that you say, Oh, I shouldn’t have gone down that icy dissenter. But yeah, it’s tricky.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 52:29
There’s a lot more focus going into it now, which is, is really great for us. So I know that, like Michael Rogers, for sure, within the UCI is taking safety really, really seriously. And there’s a lot of work like I’m also involved in the UCI road commission. So you know, I’m involved in calls where safety is always brought up, it’s always discussed until they are really active, they are really trying to finding a neutral body or a means to make sure that like races are kept accountable, that routes are being checked in advance. And that kind of a neutral force or a neutral body can kind of take care of those important decisions, because it’s quite hard when it’s put on the riders or the teams or the riders organizers because they’re not neutral, you know, they have certain Yeah, livelihoods or revenue streams or that they’re responsible for. So it’s difficult often to sort of take the middle ground and look at it from all the different perspective. So it’s definitely something that I know for sure is being taken a lot more seriously, these days, the best solution or the model, the best model to be used hasn’t yet been fully, you know, recognized or found or implemented. But lots of steps have been taken, like if we even just look at some of the steps have been taken to make the barriers, safer these days, you know, all these type of things. And then the CPA, I mean, the CPA, I have to say is playing a crucial role. And I do feel they’re taking it very seriously. I mean, I also it’s great to have someone like Adam involved because we’re sure he’s also taking it really seriously. And it’s good to have past races involved in these positions because they understand firsthand, you know, what it feels like or what the pressures are the responsibilities that we have it as riders. So a lot of steps are being taken, but it’s not 100% solved for at this point in time. But I do feel that we are being heard,
Dede Barry 54:21
as riders that it’s good to hear that things are moving in the right direction, Adam and looking at some of the weather related issues that the racers have faced at events, what are your thoughts on how the UCI CPA athletes and teams could improve things going forward in terms of weather protocol,
Adam Hansen 54:37
we’ll start with the filter. So I saw the start times of the filter and I was like wow, that’s like okay, and then spoke to the organizer. And he said that it’s been like this traditionally and they have the winner on the on the podium at the end of the news and that was the the objective of it. I was okay, but no one no one complained. No writer or Team No one came to No journalists. I had a few journalists that that said afterwards are but you know, as far as I go, why don’t you write, if you were to the first person to write a story, if you knew it, if you would have wrote a story, you would have been the first person. So even the journalist, Mr. and everything. And actually, the organizers did notice the storms. And they actually changed the starting time, I think was 15 minutes earlier than planned. But the storms were much worse than it was. And then it was really the cloud cover that made the big difference. And because of that, I heard from the organizer that they couldn’t get the streetlights on in time, because this was a nightmare. And then I had some people, I’d want journalists, why didn’t the CPA do something like that? I was like, what can the CPA do? Like, I’m really disappointed in the sense of like, when something like that happens, you’re in the middle of race. So at the race starts, the race has started. And it’s not a road race where everyone is together. So you’ve already got the safe five teams are finished. How are you going to tell the team you cannot start don’t start because there’s not safe. And the commerce here and the organizer? Well, if you don’t start, then you basically don’t finish and you you forfeit the rest. So the CPA almost has no power on the sense. This is more up to the UCI and the organizer. And I’m really disappointed that not one of them sort of went, Okay, this is this is getting the two, five, especially towards the end of the teams where they did not step in, I understand it’s very hard for not just the CPA, but the teams also for the team sustain and say, No, this is too dangerous. And then the organizer says, Well, if you don’t start to you’re out the results, that’s it. And people have to remember, teams go I think three or five minutes apart, you got five minutes to make those negotiations and habit in place. And you got to be sure that that chromosphere has the power to enforce it and the organizers there. So this is something that in the CEPA group we brought up where we must have more power and these type of moments, and the UCI and the organizer must take some responsibility and do something and this is out of the team’s hands. In that sense. It’s how the teams handle the other writers hands. So in that aspect is was horrible. Regarding the extreme weather protocol. This is this is way too broad the conditions to invoke it. And I learned this in the Giro so we are in stage 10 in the Giro this year, he was horrible weather. And he was super cold. But it wasn’t snowing or anything and what people fail to remember in these stages, and I’m sure you know this happens when there’s a super bad weather day. There’s just riders everywhere. There’s no real peloton on the mountain days. They’re just scattered everywhere. And the team cars can’t get to everyone. They just can’t. So you have riders with not with the proper clothing. And then they get wet and they can’t get better clothes because there’s only two team cars. And you had I think there was like 10 people in the breakaway. So you got 10 cars off the road, they can’t go back service all the riders. So there was a lot of riders that not serviced and it was just a disaster. And I negotiated with the organizer, the morning of the race, and he said it was too late. You can’t do anything the race has got to go on the riders can’t control, you know, everything. And then stage 13 was looking bad. So we followed the rules of the organizer. We wanted to do it the day before and we did a bolting the day before and conditions were worse on that day predicted. And then we did a voting and the right is equals 19 wanted to invoke the extreme weather protocol, because it was meant to be snow on one of the dissents. And then when we’re talking to the the organizer though against it. Everyone agreed that whatever the voting was, everyone had to agree to it. So even if we’re against it, yeah, you’re greeted, everyone voted that and that was true power of the rider. So it was really good to see. And we informed the organizer in the morning. They followed through. And the sad thing that happened in my eyes was it actually turned out to be not such a bad day. The organizers I see told us like Yeah, but this is not my fault. This is your fault. Because I’m stage 10. We want to do the morning and you set up can’t do it the mornings too late. You got to do it the day before, where the weather’s less predictable the day before. And then we did the day before. And then he got angry with that we did it the day before and not the day, the morning of the race. And that’s how the organizer plays games with you in the sense. And also to invoke it was a bit difficult because there wasn’t snow. It wasn’t super cold. But the thing is, we know if it’s raining and it’s four degrees, and you’re out there for four hours, or six hours, it is your body gorgeous gets lower, lower lower than it gets. Yeah, it just it’s not healthy for the riders.
Dede Barry 59:30
Yeah, it’s interesting. I’m actually a believer that the teams and the writer should take a greater role when these conditions are changing so quickly, like in the Vuelta. I watched the live coverage. And I found myself wondering why the teams didn’t protest the start those final teams, right and just refuse to start because it looked like a dangerous situation to me.
Adam Hansen 59:52
Yeah, I completely agree. And this is what I mean. It’s more it’s more up to the to Well, in my opinion for that to work. You’d have to get through 14 aimed at one time, and this is mid race. This is why it’s so difficult, you know, mid race and save, we’re not starting and all you need and some of the organizers like ultimate, some of them are pretty bad. Some are just like, Okay, go home. It’s alright. And that’s day one of the shelter. You know, that’s it’s a huge risk for some of these teams. So this is why a bit disappointing UCI and the the organizing are stepping up. But you’re right. Next should be the teams and the writers because even inside the teams, we you know, we don’t always get and this is sad for me a little we don’t always get all the writers agree. And I don’t mean, it’s sad. I mean, the sense that they all don’t agree. It’s sad to me that some writers want to race. And the majority tell them that they can’t. This is an awful situation I don’t like and this is why I think it should be sometimes a bit above the riders. And it’s not just not to race is to be responsible. That’s all we ask for.
Julie Young 1:00:54
Yeah, makes sense. I think to create that strong collective united voice. It’s so hard because you have so many individuals with different interests and different motives.
Adam Hansen 1:01:04
Oh, it’s a nightmare, because they’re all not in one room, generally the morning of a race. They’re all scattered across 22 team buses. And it could be a stage where the finishes in the hometown of a team sponsor or or someone’s birthday, or someone lives there knows the roads. And when you asked me what are my long term goals is to also have a system in place where all the riders agree that it’s like exactly what you had in the Giro. And the JIRA, the ruling was Does everyone agree if 80% fell to one thing more than 81%? Everyone follows. So if it’s 75%, you do whatever the race is told to do. But if it’s more than 80%, the 20% must follow the 80%. And I tried to express in the sense, yeah, it might not go your way, tomorrow, but your careers long. And it will go your way in the future. And that’s why we do need to be united. And this is very important for your health and long term for cycling.
Julie Young 1:02:04
So it’s just seems like this kind of goes along with that idea of standardizing the elements. And that seems to me a very important first step in moving forward. Yes, definitely.
Adam Hansen 1:02:15
It sounds easy. I’d have every organizers from a different country with different culture and different budgets. And but yeah, we definitely need this stabilization. This is something that we have to convince UCI to implement. Yeah, I just wanted
Julie Young 1:02:30
to circle back, you know, you talked about the riders responsibility and mitigating the risk and the education and I have like GCN streaming all day and listening to these races. So you hear the commentators more and more saying that the number of crashes in the peloton are growing, and they’re more traumatic. And I’ve often wondered if the devices and all the data that’s now available for riders to be viewing on those those head units could be contributing to crashes? Because I think about like you’re talking about the speeds that the writers are writing, and then you’re looking down seeing what’s coming next. It’s almost like texting and writing where you know, and then all of a sudden, somebody’s braking. And then it just toys with reaction skills. Do you think that could be a contributor to the number of crashes?
Adam Hansen 1:03:17
To be honest, I don’t know. Because I never raced with a Garmin and I raced with other guys that have garments. And it’s true. They they did look at the garments. And I like just for example, I remember being in the Giro and I was climbing and I was just about to I was it was too hard for me. I was about to swing off. And the sky is like, hey, no 500 meters is downhill. And he was pointing out his Garmin. And that’s information that he had that I didn’t have because I knew the climb was not a climb as the top but there’s a downhill section, right? So you make a good point. There’s this information that the riders are using to hold on longer because they do show they do show the corners but they don’t show how hard the corners are but you know, maybe they read it wrong or Yeah, it would not surprise me if it does. Well. I definitely influences the way the riders race and I saw that firsthand where I did not have information somebody didn’t He use it to his advantage. But sometimes when you have too much information and you have too much confidence these two things don’t go well together.
Julie Young 1:04:15
The other thing I’ve been wondering about is when these crashes are termed traumatic you know as as watching a documentary about like film on Dara and you know era and the the physiques of the riders are just so different and how now they’re just seems like writers are on the absolute edge in terms of of their weight and perhaps like when they’re crashing, it’s more traumatic because, you know, maybe the bone health is lacking, among other things.
Adam Hansen 1:04:44
Yeah, it’s a very good point because today right as as lean as ever and as live as ever, we would submit interesting is Kent University as we work with UCI to document crashes. I don’t know how many years back and what where you’re going to do is is to add in what type of crashes. So broken bones and things like that. And then one, one person in CEPA was sort of like, Yeah, but then we need to have protective gear and things like this. And I instantly thought really, he kind of put protective key on riders. And then I quickly thought, I’m sure that’s what someone said, when they were going to introduce helmets, and, like really going to ride with helmets on. And I was thinking No, but maybe, yeah, maybe give it you know, maybe the riders do need a bit of more protective gear or something. Yeah, for sure. There’s going to be a huge rebellion against it. But no one’s complaining about helmets today. And when I watched the old races where they don’t race with helmets, I cannot imagine to do a sprint finish without a helmet. I couldn’t imagine doing a Coble section without a helmet. And maybe it’s different because I’m an Australian, and we grew up with a law that you had to wear helmets, when I ride a bike without a helmet, I don’t feel good. I just don’t know, I just don’t feel good, because I’ve always worn a helmet. But you know, become used to wearing a helmet. And to me, it’s just part of racing. So maybe once we get more data, and we see, you know, because this one individual pointed out, you know, if everyone’s breaking their collarbones, then maybe we should look at some protective gear that could reduce that just to maybe a little bit of padding or something that could just reduce that. And also thinking, wow, I don’t think writers there are psychologists true, you know, they put they implemented helmets, and this is no problem everyone brought along. So yeah, maybe maybe in the future, something like this will happen.
Dede Barry 1:06:29
It’d be interesting to look at bikes too, because like the carbons become so thin walled, to lighten up the bikes, both on the frames and on the cockpit components, for example, that they’re breaking more easily now than they did in prior generations. If you think back to the 1980s, and everyone was on steel bikes took a greater part of the impact of a crash. And now they just snap immediately, they don’t really take in any impact. And so I would think that the body would take more impact from the crash because of that, it would be an interesting thing to look at, right?
Adam Hansen 1:07:03
Oh, definitely. Yeah, when you’re saying that I was thinking, you know, the roads are perfect. And you’re in a perfect environment. It doesn’t matter if the bikes are fragile. But when you do a cobbled section, or you hit a railway, or you hit a gutter or something like that, you’re right, they just, today’s bikes just fold underneath the riders. There’s so many more images today where mechanics are picking up three pieces of a bike to back to the car. But it’s a very good point, I’d like to look into exactly what you said that if you were to hit something with a carbon bike and unfold, are you at a higher velocity than someone that saw on a steel frame that said something it’d be definitely interesting to look into.
Dede Barry 1:07:41
Yeah, I can’t imagine that it doesn’t have an impact.
Adam Hansen 1:07:46
Oh, it makes sense cause the design to cripple to reduce the speed.
Dede Barry 1:07:50
Yeah, Adam to wrap up the episode, we’d like to ask you for your top three pieces of advice for bike racers to improve safety in the peloton. So for the riders
Adam Hansen 1:08:01
just point out everything. If you see a pothole or stone or something pointed out, that was one thing that always did, just to point out everything, that’s a huge one, actually, and stay within your limit really, really, really stay within your limit. You might get content on one one downhill, but that’s because you’ve done it a few times, but there’s a lot of downhills you haven’t. And last thing I don’t want to scare riders, I really don’t want to scare riders, but just for one minute, go through a city and just look on the road of everywhere you can hit your head on the gutter, the concrete plant port corner of a building the sign, and you’ll see in one minute, there’s so many points of impact. And I think this is kind of good just to be self aware, because everyone thinks you’re invincible. And that’s the problem with athletes, when athletes are writing well, they think they’re more invincible. But the thing is, you know, everyone’s the same when they hit a concrete curve. That’s really good advice.
Julie Young 1:08:55
Yeah, great pieces of advice. It kind of brought up for me, Adam, when I was racing, like, I wasn’t fearful, but I was just proactive, like always thinking about exit strategies,
Adam Hansen 1:09:06
not with an exit strategy. But what I used to cross bridges. Because you know, on a bike, you sit really high. It’s not like your car, you’re sitting down on a bike. Sometimes I’d look and go like he feels a crash here and you’re on the side of the bunch. You could go over a bridge and as 100 meter drop, like on bridges, I’d always be in the middle of the pillar. Just just on that little chance that if there was a crash, and I went over the railing,
Dede Barry 1:09:28
little buffer. Yeah. Ashley, do you have any final advice to share with our listeners? I’d say
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio 1:09:34
like, I do believe that a form of skills, lessons, you know, or downhill lessons. I know that’s becoming more and more common. Within pro cycling. A lot of the teams are implementing it, which is really great. But I think that if it’s not being implemented within a team, then I’d say is definitely something that riders should should implement themselves. You know what I mean? So, you know, it’s important to We understand your equipment, it’s important to know how far you can take your equipment. It’s important to play around with those things, you know, tire pressures to take responsibility for your own equipment because I think often our riders just just take for granted on Yeah, I’m just going to arrive and get on my bike and someone’s pumped my tires. But what tire pressure do you want in these kind of conditions, if it’s weight, you know, so to take more ownership of understanding our bikes, and you know how they should be dialed in, you know, for different conditions, especially in terms of tire pressures and, and stuff like that. So I’d say it’s important to understand those things and not just to take it for granted. And the only way to understand that is to pay attention to it in training to try things out yourself. Obviously, within reason. Don’t take too many risks. Yeah, and then I suppose the interesting thing is, it’s so funny these days how there’s not as much sort of pecking order within the peloton these days you know, the youngsters does come in and they want to get to the top as soon as possible or there’s less respect to whether whether in the peloton I really do feel this so I feel it’s not winning at all costs. We shouldn’t be thinking that way. You know, we should be thinking about, you know, safety and don’t take a gap that doesn’t exist and ride more responsibly within the peloton. And then I don’t know, if you have a concern, to stand up for it to speak up. Don’t feel afraid, you know, you can voice your concerns if you don’t feel comfortable say it. Because actually, surprisingly, there might be a whole lot of others that don’t feel comfortable to but everyone’s feeling nervous to say something. So you know, voice your opinion. Say how you feel. If you’re in the peloton, and you’re not feeling safe, for various reasons, go up to another idea and say, hey, the rider that you trust, you know, or an older rider that you respect and say, Hey, I’m feeling unsafe. Do you think this is safe? You know, and then that might kind of get things rolling, where everyone’s like, no, hang on, I’m also not feeling good. What should we do? Okay, let’s neutralize the rest. We have a right to speak up and to stand up for ourselves and to say when we feel uncomfortable.
Dede Barry 1:12:02
That’s really good advice. Thank you. That was another episode of fast talk fan. Subscribe to fast talk fam. Wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on fast talk fam are those of the individual. As always, we’d love your feedback, and any thoughts you have on topics or guests that might be of interest for you. Get in touch via social. You can find fast talk labs on Twitter and Instagram at fast talk labs, where you’ll also find all of our episodes. You can also check them out on the web at fast talk labs.com For Ashleigh Moolman possio Adam Hansen and Julie Young. I’m Didi Berry. Thank you for listening