They do the same sport. Have almost the same races and take the same risks. Nevertheless, the women were not informed when the new safety rules for competition were discussed by the international cycling union UCI. A mistake, they acknowledged. As a result, Christine Majerus was approached last month and the Luxembourgian now have a role in the safety committee on behalf of the cyclists' union CPA (cycling professional association) together with her male colleagues Philippe Gilbert and Matteo Trentin.
Remarkably, last November 800 male cyclists were notified by the CPA about the new safety measures, but not a single female cyclist was involved. After various cyclists expressed their indignation about this, the CPA, of which Gianni Bugno is chairman, immediately understood that an important mistake had been made.
“At first, teammate Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio was asked to take place in the safety committee, but she already had such a full agenda with activities for the CPA,” says Majerus, who is part of the current Team SD Worx for already eight years. “Then Ashleigh mentioned my name, because I usually have an opinion and I think safety is an important topic. I was interested in this role. Although I first called Matteo Trentin to find out what our role could be and how he thought about it. I soon found out that we have the same thoughts and opinions. People are talking about cycling, not about men's or women's cycling. He was happy that an extra rider joined the commission.”
The 34-year-old rider from Luxembourg means that it is very important that someone from the women's peloton is involved in this safety aspect. “Before, I was already aware on that during the races. If no one says anything, nothing will ever happen. And if you only complain in the media afterwards, you always run behind facts.”
Majerus immediately received some good feedback from the peloton after step into this role. “Maybe I am not the most communicative cyclist, but if you know me a bit then you know that I am very approachable. Each team has a representative at the CPA and TCA (The Cycling Allicance). This made it possible to contact everyone quickly. In the meantime, I have been in contact with almost all teams and have indicated that they can always contact me with their questions or remarks regarding safety. They can give their opinions to me about, for example, the "extreme weather protocol" and about safety situations during competitions. I can then discuss that feedback with the UCI.”
Of course, the Luxembourg champion has an opinion about the new rules. Leaning on the top tube (super-tuck) and the time trial position with the arms on the handlebars are prohibited from April 1 and riders can even be disqualified for this. “I don't think both positions are dangerous. We are professionals at the highest level and really know how to handle a bike. I understand that we are example for all kind of fans. But what is the difference with Formula 1 where the racing cars go up to 300 kilometers per hour? And freestyle skiing is also an Olympic sport where triple saults are made. If amateurs are going to do this, it is also dangerous. Then why is this not prohibited? However, the decision about the position on the bike has been made and I am intelligent enough to understand the reason.”
Majerus especially hopes that there will be enough feedback from the women's peloton. “The most important thing is to be warned so that I can take action. Last month in Nokere Koerse the barriers were not secured. After I reported this to the jury, immediate action was taken. If we become aware of these situations together, we can together solve those problems. I see this as a serious matter. I am not the person who does half work. I hope for good feedback and that I can then contribute my best to this important topic. ”
Photo credits: Getty Sport