France’s state rail operator SNCF asked authorities to look into an incident yesterday where about 30 pro cyclists dodged a railway barrier, missing a high-speed train by a few seconds so they wouldn’t fall behind in the race.
The riders in the Paris-Roubaix race ignored the safety procedure in an “extremely serious and irresponsible” infraction in front of a television audience of millions, SNCF said in a statement.
The rail operator said it decided to file a complaint, without saying to whom, and would leave it up to investigators to establish who was responsible. A call to SNCF’s media office seeking more detail wasn’t immediately returned. Amaury Sport Organisation, the organizer of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France, had no immediate comment.
Television pictures showed a single policeman on a motorbike put out his hand to stop more riders going past the barriers as the train approached in Wallers, northeast France.
The cyclists who had crossed before the train later slowed down to let those left behind to catch up.
The Paris-Roubaix race is one of cycling’s oldest and most storied races and is known for its grueling cobblestone sections.
John Degenkolb won the 253.5 kilometer (158-mile) event in a sprint finish, becoming the first German winner since 1896.