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Lucinda Brand asks UCI for empathy towards crash victims

Lucinda Brand asks UCI for empathy towards crash victims

Lucinda Brand pulled over 150 m from the finish line to check on her injured teammate on Thursday—and she lost three minutes. Should that have happened?

During Thursday’s stage 1 of the Vuelta a Burgos Féminas, as the sprint intensified, Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) and Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) collided with the barriers just 150 m from the finish line. Witnessing her teammate’s distress, Lucinda Brand (Lidl-Trek) immediately pulled over to check on Balsamo.

When empathy usurps racing

“Today I followed my human instinct and not my racing instinct. I stopped to check on my teammate after a nasty crash just meters from the finish,” she posted on X. “I didn’t think twice about doing it and I don’t regret it but, doing the right thing, lost me three minutes even with the line in view.”

The 3-km rule in professional cycling is a pivotal marker impacting race dynamics. It grants riders involved in mishaps within the last three kilometres the same finishing time as their group. This rule influences team tactics, prompting strategic calculations about attacking or sprinting. It provides riders security, letting them focus on positioning and exerting in the final sprint without fear of losing time. However, it sparks debate, with some fearing it encourages risky riding while others see it as ensuring fair competition.

Rules are rules–but can they be broken?

It used to be 1 km from the finish, but in 2005, the UCI extended the rule, 2.6.027, to 3 km remaining. The exact wording of it is, “In the case of a duly noted incident in the last three kilometres of a road race stage, the rider or riders affected shall be credited with the time of the rider or riders in whose company they were riding at the moment of the incident. His or their placing shall be determined by the order in which he or they actually cross the finishing line.” Furthermore, “any event independent from the physical capacity of the riderfall, mechanical problem, puncture) and their will of remaining with the riders in whose company he was riding at the moment of the incident.”

Are today’s pro cyclists more sportspersonlike than 20 years ago?

So yes, rules are rules and Brand did not have a mechanical or crash. But it was clear she was concerned about her teammate. There was nothing to be gained by stopping just metres from the line.

The evolution of pro cycling: More empathy from UCI?

Many argue that attitudes within the sport are changing, with a greater…

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