Tour de France: Shock after death of Drege

Tour de France: Shock after death of Drege
Tour de France: Shock after death of Drege

The shock waves of the fatal fall of professional cyclist Drege in Austria are also clearly felt in the Tour de France. There have been no serious incidents in France so far.

The cycling elite of the Tour de France are mourning the death of Norwegian professional cyclist André Drege. “I am in shock,” said superstar Tadej Pogacar. “It is difficult to process what has happened. It is very sad to hear,” he added. “In the cycling world we really have to look out for each other and take care of each other,” said the current overall leader in the yellow jersey.

While the current Tour of France was spared any serious incidents, the death of the Norwegian professional during the Tour of Austria shocked the cycling world. The 25-year-old died on the descent from the Grossglockner. The Norwegian professional team Uno-X mourned the loss of the rider. Cycling veteran Alexander Kristoff and fellow countryman von Dreges spoke of “very bad news”.

Few tasks on tour

The fact that the Tour de France has so far been without any serious crashes is made clear by the small number of tasks. Only three riders had to get off their bikes before the start of the eighth stage of the Tour, two due to the consequences of a fall. Among them was former world champion Mads Pedersen. Pascal Ackermann tried to explain it. The sprinter feels very comfortable among the experienced professional cyclists in his Tour debut. And above all, safe. The 30-year-old German sees the extensive racing experience in the field as a reason for the few serious crashes so far in the 111th edition of the Tour de France.

“In the Tour you can see that the experienced riders don’t keep their cool as much as the young ones,” said Ackermann recently. On Saturday the 30-year-old narrowly missed his first Tour stage win after a mass sprint, finishing fourth. According to Ackermann, the younger riders don’t have the same bike control as his generation at that age. The start of the Tour after the start in Florence was also extremely demanding. “The first two stages were tough. And that also means there are fewer crashes,” said veteran John Degenkolb. The 35-year-old is taking part in his tenth Tour.

Change of the fall rule

Four sprint stages followed, among other things. The hectic final kilometers were often prone to serious accidents in the past. To improve rider safety, the tour organizers changed the crash rule on certain stages from three to four or five kilometers.

This was the first time that the Tour 2024 had been implemented on the third stage in Turin. The rule means that the times for the overall ranking are taken at these kilometer limits. This makes the mass sprints less hectic, as the overall ranking riders hold back and the sprinters and their helpers have more space for their fast-paced stage finale.

“What surprised me positively was that the opening up of the three-kilometer rule really made a difference,” praised Degenkolb. According to the veteran, this is “certainly also a reason” for the mostly minor collisions.

Gravel spectacle in Troyes

The issue of the national tour, which has so far had few crashes, could change suddenly on Sunday. Then the tricky gravel stage around the city of Troyes is coming up. The organizers want a spectacle, the top teams are worried about their racers. A total of 14 unpaved gravel sections over a length of 32 kilometers caused concern among the sports directors of the top riders around Pogacar long before the start of the tour. One small mistake, one unfortunate fall and the tour could end early for one of the stars in the race for the overall ranking.

Source: Stern

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