Riis suggests sprint rule change

After a spate of crashes close to stage finishes, CSC boss Bjarne Riis wonders if it might be time f

After a spate of crashes close to stage finishes, CSC boss Bjarne Riis wonders if it might be time f
The first week of this year's Tour de France has been marked by especially two things: bad weather and crashes galore. The riders nursing various cuts, bruises and scratches are numerous, and before the start of Sunday's stage 12 riders had abandoned the Tour, writes Susanne Horsdal. Although crashes can and have taken place at almost any time during this week's stages, on most occasions it has been the bunch sprints that have taken their toll on the peloton, especially Friday's mass pile-up at the one-kilometre-to-go mark, an incident which has led to CSC team manager Bjarne Riis suggesting a rule change. "I think it would be a good idea if you clocked the peloton further out on the stage. Then the riders wouldn't be afraid of losing seconds. That might solve the problem. At least it's worth a consideration," proposes Riis. According to the current rules, a rider is given the same time as the stage winner, if he loses time due to a crash within the last kilometre. It's that mark Riis suggests be moved further out, with the intention of making the GC riders leave the sprints to the experts. Riis' own CSC-riders have had their share of close encounters with the tarmac, which has so far made their fastest man, Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen, stay away from the bunch sprints. "I just don't dare sprint anymore. I panic when the finale approaches. My crash on Monday is constantly in the back of my head. I have no problems moving up in the peloton but as soon as anything at all happens I pull back," Arvesen has told Norwegian news agency NTB. Arvesen crashed heavily and lost a lot of skin on stage two when, with 200 metres to go, his front wheel was clipped by Jaan Kirsipuu.
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