4th March 2019

Cycle race halted for safety reasons after women catch men

Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann finished in 74th place despite initially leading the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019, after organisers were forced to halt the women’s race due to Hanselmann catching the men, who had started ten minutes earlier. ‘Today was the first spring classic in Belgium’, wrote Hanselmann on Instagram (below). ‘I attacked after 7km, and was alone in the break for around 30km…but then a awkward moment happened and I almost saw the back of the men’s peloton […] After the neutralization, I was caught up again and finished the race on the 74th place’.

The organisers of the race said that they were forced to intervene for safety reasons, as the caravan of cars and trucks that proceeded the women’s race was approaching the back of the men’s race. ‘After 30km, the organisers had to intervene for safety’, read a statement. ‘The women’s race was neutralised after about five minutes. As soon as it was safe to drive on, the race caravan left. Of course, we respected all time differences. In the future, the organisers will consult with police and other parties to examine if the start of the female race can be delayed by a few minutes to avoid another conflict.’

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