Open letter from Sir Jim Ratcliffe

  • 12 Apr 24
  • announcement

As we prepare for the start of the Grand Tour season, we really need to address the issue of safety in professional cycling.

In Formula 1, when Ayrton Senna had his fatal crash 30 years ago in Italy, the governing body set out to transform the safety regulations of one of the world’s most dangerous sports and significantly reduced injuries as a result.

This contrasts starkly with cycling where, until now, governing bodies have made very few changes and serious accidents are a common occurrence. As recently as last week, we had yet another horrific crash involving three of the world’s top cyclists, Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic. Jonas, who has won the last two Tour de France races, suffered multiple broken bones and was hospitalised.

Even whilst training, top riders are at serious risk, indeed INEOS Grenadiers have had two horrendous accidents in recent years both involving Tour de France winners. Chris Froome experienced a compound fracture of his femur on a recon ride and Egan Bernal broke his neck and many other bones on a training ride. Both were lucky to be able to even get back on a bike.

Cyclists are always going to push things to the limit as they are elite sportsmen and that is why action is so important. In June, the UCI announced the formation of SafeR, a specialist entity to oversee all aspects of cycling safety. For the first time, the sport will have a dedicated safety body whose sole concern is to make the sport safer, reducing the risks to riders and spectators whilst losing none of the thrill of racing. This is what Formula 1 has done so well over the past 30 years and I would hope that we will now see the same in cycling.

I applaud the UCI for taking the issues on board and agreeing to support the establishment of SafeR. We now need to see real action to ensure the safety of the sport.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Chairman, INEOS