UCI wants ‘to set an example’ with further punishment for Maciejuk

The 23-year-old will appear before a UCI disciplinary committee and could be handed a suspension or fine.

Photo: Cor Vos

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 04.04.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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Filip Maciejuk, the Bahrain Victorious rider who caused a huge crash at the Tour of Flanders, may face further disciplinary action following his disqualification from the race.

The 23-year-old Polish rider will appear before a UCI disciplinary committee, where he could be given a suspension and/or fine.

“His manoeuvre was absolutely not what is done. You should never compromise the safety of your fellow riders,” UCI coordinator Peter Van Den Abeele told Sporza.” Further measures can definitely follow. He will appear before the disciplinary committee. A possible suspension and/or additional fine cannot be ruled out. This will not just pass.”

Cycling’s governing body says Sunday’s incident is validation of their rule that forbids riders from racing on footpaths and that they are working on a new safety body with participants including the Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers teams.

“We were looked at a bit skewed when we introduced the rule that it was not allowed to ride on a footpath, but look now: the consequences were significant for riders like Tim Wellens,” Van Den Abeele continued. “It’s a negative trend and we have to get rid of it. We want to set an example and send a signal to the riders that we are jointly responsible for safety. The organisation – especially in the Flemish spring classics – is meticulously concerned with the safety of the riders. The rest of the stakeholders must also take their responsibility.

“For example, we want to be able to anticipate rather than react to falls in the future. That is why we are working on a new safety body, which we will soon share with the world.”

The UCI may be set on more punishment, but Wellens, who suffered a collarbone break in three places due to the crash, told Het Nieuwsblad he is not wishing further recriminations for Maciejuk.

“That was of course not a smart move on his part. But I think Maciejuk has already been punished enough on social media. I don’t know [him] personally but I suppose he would have given his collarbone not to be the cause of this massive crash.

“Today I had a teammate on the phone and he had a different opinion. He felt that Maciejuk cannot be punished hard enough. However, it makes little difference to me. My collarbone remains broken as well.” He is expecting to be able to ride again in two weeks and will aim to make his racing comeback at June’s Tour de Suisse.

Van Den Abeele isn’t done just yet, though, saying the go-slow tactic employed by Team DSM at the Tour of Flanders and by Trek-Segafredo at Dwars door Vlaanderen will be looked at too.

“We will analyse that tactic in more detail,” he said. “Everyone must be able to [race as they want], but this strategy is very far-reaching.”

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