After the incident in Paris-Roubaix yesterday when riders crossed despite a level crossing barrier coming down to stop them being hit by an oncoming train, many people have called for action to be taken against the riders who broke the rules. In 2006, three men finished in the top ten but were disqualified after, with this being the suggested punishment for the riders who did so. This would perhaps give Martin Elmiger the win, after he finished fifth. But no action will be taken against the riders.
In 2006, the commissaires took the decision to disqualify Leife Hoste, Peter Van Petegem and Vladimir Gusev from second, third and fourth place after they had ignored a level crossing with 15 kilometres remaining to keep chasing Fabian Cancellara.
Roughly 30 men including Wiggins and Kristoff snuck through while about 20 were held back by a police motorbike and crossed once the train was safely gone. The pack finished the Pont Gibus cobbled sector before slowing down to allow those caught behind to rejoin.
"I was a bit on the limit and I was a bit far behind, so I crawled under the boom. I checked that it was clear, and the train was still a good distance away," Kristoff said of the incident after the race, which was won by John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin).
The orgainsers let the riders of the hook this time, apparently due to the amount of riders who made it through, as it would be difficult to exclude all who broke the rules, particularly those who didn’t achieve a high finish and unfair to punish only those who did.
"The peloton was 10 metres away when the barriers started to close," the commissaires announced in a statement after the race. "It wasn't possible for the riders in front to stop in a sufficiently safe manner. The second part of the peloton was stopped.”
"As a consequence, the commissaires together with the race organisation neutralised the first part of the peloton to facilitate a regrouping with the second part of the peloton and to get back to the situation from before the level crossing. This decision was relayed over race radio."
The race jury was led by Belgian commissaire Guy Dobbelaere, who gave more information on the incident to AFP.
"By neutralising the race for a few moments to not penalise those who stopped, we respected the spirit of the rule," he said. "In theory, those who pass when the barrier is down are thrown out of the race. This time, that would have been unjust in respect of those riders who weren't identified."
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