Rolling News. July 16, 2013.
After dropping the peloton on a hard HC climb, 2Fast-SomeBank-Fiat rider Egon Truquer reached out his hand while hammering past a long line of screaming fans towards the finish line. Unfortunately, the search for congratulatory high-5’s lead to the injury of nine spectators. The alleged injuries include 27 broken fingers, several sprained wrists, a broken jaw, and a broken leg.
“These hot-shot cyclists need to be taken down a peg,” said Daniel Caprice, legal counsel for the injured parties. “They need to know that they’re not above the law.”
Truquer is being charged with reckless endangerment, willful negligence and nine counts of assault. “How could he not know the damage he would cause to these innocent fans who just wanted to be near the riders of the sport they love?” continued Caprice.
“Though Truquer weighs only 61 kg [135 lbs],” said sports physiologist Kevin Chirtock, “the velocity at which they travel these days is the issue. Five years ago, you could high-5 the top-end riders and get nothing more than a stinging palm while they rolled by. These days, it’s more like putting your hand in front of a speeding car.”
Video analysis puts Truquer’s speed at an estimated 42 mph as he pedaled into the finish. “It was not intentional. He was happy; the crowd was happy. These things happen,” said team manager Alexi Sensikov.
This is only the latest in a series of injuries to spectators at cycling events. Some of these include several riders sliding off a sharp turn into a crowd, a fan who was running along-side some riders only to trip and be run over by the peloton seconds later, and in one instance a twelve-year-old hit in the head by a high-velocity discarded water bottle.
Race organizers are considering adding secondary barriers to move the crowd away from the course, and are even speaking with NASCAR officials to determine how best to keep the audience safe. “It’s a hard thing to balance,” said race organizer Joquan d’Jes. “The fans, they want to be right there, close to their heroes. But the pros now ride like marauders, plowing through anything in their path at ever greater speeds. This is what the audience wants of course, faster racers and closer action. But the two are dangerous together.”
When asked for a comment regarding the race finish, Truquer stated, “We sacrifice as riders. They sacrifice as fans. This brings us together, not apart. They will want their casts signed by me, you will see.”