The International Cycling Union announced measures to protect riders against concussions on Thursday following months of study from a working group of seven specialists. The UCI want to make decisions about whether to continue or not following a fall away from a rider and hand them to a roadside doctor, without stopping a race.

The working group was set up after a fall on stage 13 of the Tour de France where home hope Romain Bardet was knocked out cold in a high-speed fall. As television cameras panned in on Bardet however the Frenchman suddenly came round, and dramatically leapt back into the saddle and sped off. But Bardet began to feel ill in the hours following the race, got out of his car to be sick, pulled out of the Tour and went for checks.

“You would have had to handcuff me to stop me carrying on at the time,”
Bardet later admitted.

Romain Bardet (FRA – AG2R – La Mondiale)

Following this incident the UCI unveiled a new set of protocol to identify concussion that they have been working on since September. The move comes at a time when rugby union, another sport which involves frequent collisions and knocks to the head, is pondering problems associated with long term brain damage.

The UCI is targeting a system of immediate withdrawal of a cyclist if they cannot respond to a series of basic questions about the race and their whereabouts after a fall. They will be looking specifically at incidents where a helmet is damaged, a cyclist has double vision, a painful neck, suffers vomiting after a fall or has an injury to the face.

Follow-up tests will be done in the evening at a team hotel and riders taken out of a race will face an enforced seven-day rest.


RBA/AFP Photos Bettini

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