The UCI’s reinforced rules intended to discourage riders from advancing over a level crossing ahead of an incoming train were put to the test in the Women’s Strade Bianche today. Fifteen riders were disqualified for violating the level-crossing rule, including last year’s fourth place finisher Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla).
The riders were part of a chasing group with the leading group within sight when the train booms sounded and the level-crossing gates began to lower.
“I saw two or three riders, one of which was Giorgia [Bronzini], slip under just as the gates were starting to come down,” Moolman-Paiso (Cervelo-Bigla) told Cyclingnews. “I followed suit and so did the others. So – yes, I did it. We did it. We went under the gates as they were closing.”
A protagonist in last year’s Strade-Bianche, Moolman-Paiso was a team leader for Cervelo-Bigla on Saturday. Moolman-Paiso had crashed during a decisive moment of the race. Sitting in second wheel, she was following a rider that was taking excessive risks through corners. “I was forced into the loose gravel, and I crashed,” Moolman-Paiso explained. “My rear derailleur was broken, and I had to wait for a spare bike.”
Several teammates dropped back so that they could pace her back to the reduced bunch. “We chased, and we chased, and we picked up riders along the way,” said Moolman-Paiso. “Eventually there was a little group of us all chasing together. We got to a point where the peloton was literally 100 metres in front of us. There were only two cars between us and the bunch.”
“That’s when we reached the train crossing and the gates began to come down.”
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